Category Archives: Magical Menageries

Incentive!

I want you to vote in the Equus Battle Royal.

I mean I really want you to vote.

So I’m incentivizing voting 🙂

In this and all subsequent rounds anyone who votes will have their name tossed into a virtual hat. At the end of the round when I announce the equine winner I will also announce a human one. I’ll draw a name from the hat and that person will receive their choice of books from the photo (the two little ones count as one together).

So now, not only does your vote count toward helping one equine rein supreme (sorrynotsorry) but it will also give you a chance to win a kick-ass* book.

Dudes, it doesn’t get much better than that. And it’s so easy. Leave a comment, win a book. Boom! Boom!

Now go vote!

 

*Yeah I’m biased, but it’s true :-p

ETA:

Round six winner, Jayne Barnard claimed a copy of Corvidae as her prize

 

Equus Battle Royal — Round Six

Fourteen Equus contributors have agreed to pit the equine in their story against all the other horse-like creatures in the anthology and fight it out until only one is left standing. That victor shall win bragging rights… and maybe I’ll make a little ‘I won!’ graphic of some sort 😛

How it Works:

Each Tuesday the competitors will be announced and voting will open. Every vote a story receives counts as one point.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the competitors will each roll a twenty-sided die. The resulting number of points will be added to their own score. I will update the scores via a comment on the blog post and social media.

Voting closes on Sunday at midnight MST.

Monday the winner (the story with the highest score) will be announced and move on to the next round.

VS.

Story Title: Neither Snow, nor Rain, nor Heat-Ray

Author: M.L.D. Curelas

Equine Combatant’s Name: Beezus

Species: Thoroughbred cross

Strength: 18

Dexterity: 18

Constitution: 12

Intellect: 7

Charisma: 12

Special Attacks: Beezus’s Thoroughbred blood has gifted her with speed. She can start and stop on a dime. She also uses her fast breaks for surprise attacks, quickly closing the gap between her and her foe. Once Beezus has brought the battle to her enemy, she will crush their skull with her hooves. Beezus’s speed also makes her ideal for delivering payloads.

Special Defences: Beezus has highly developed senses, especially her hearing and sense of smell. Those senses aid Beezus’s tactical skills, helping her choose the ideal battle grounds. Her natural agility, honed by her field-hunting training, allows her to elude attacks. In tight situations, Beezus will employ deadly force with her teeth and hooves.

Story Title: Riders in the Sky

Author: V. F. LeSann

Equine Combatant’s Name: Peregrine

Species: Damned soul

Strength: 18

Dexterity: 15

Constitution: 16

Intellect: 13

Charisma: 12

Special Attacks: Iron hooves that get red-hot for kick attack. Stubborn horse-logic. Flame mane and tail for striking. Occasionally bursts into flame and moves at ghost-speed. He will bite. Plus when fighting demons.

Special Defences: Soul-bound and telepathically linked with a fully-armed and generally cranky Rider. Shared health pool with the Rider. Can look in someone’s eyes and judge the weight of their souls. He is not considered a living creature (damned/undead)

How to Vote:

Comment on this blog post with the title of the story you are voting for.

For example, if this week’s competitors were:

Star Wars vs. Star Trek

and you wanted to vote for Star Trekyou would leave a comment that said, “I vote for Star Trek.”

It’s just that easy.

 

Cast your votes now, and may the best equine win!

Round Five Results

 

Well, damn. It doesn’t get any closer than this.

When it was time to close the voting for this round one of the competitors was ahead by a single vote. Then I found a vote waiting in the ‘Is this spam?’ airlock for me to approve it. I did approve it and boom! Suddenly we had a tie.

So I opened voting back up again for a couple hours and… we still have a tie.

I didn’t have any system in place to deal with a tie.

Thinking on my feet I’ve decided to say the equine who got the most votes on the blog (rather than points via dice rolls) is the winner. That means our winner is:

Story Title: Rue the Day

Author: Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Equine Combatant’s Name: Nova & Reaver (they’re a team)

Species: Unicorn

Nova and Reaver will be moving on to the semifinals.

Starting tomorrow our combatants will be:

Beezus from “Neither Snow, nor Rain, nor Heat-Ray” by M.L.D. Curelas

vs

Peregrine from “Riders in the Sky” by V.F. LeSann

Excerpt from “A Complete Mare” by Tamsin Showbrook:

Its voice is drowned out by a scream. My own. I don’t know whether it’s my voice or the feeling of my chest splitting open but it’s the only thing I can hear. Falling to my knees, I lean forward and let my four arms take the strain of whatever’s forcing me open. I can see something emerging and then, like someone’s thrown a switch, my eyes stop working. The impression of what I last saw is still there, but even that’s fading. I’m conscious of being grabbed by the scruff of my neck, lifted up, and then the switch is thrown back on and my vision powers up as I swing back and forth in the gorgonite’s grasp, my feet catching on the path every few running steps.

What I see is crazy though. No human brain is built to see 360 degrees all at once, but that’s what I think I’m seeing—the fug of smoke, the side of the gorgonite, the Hall and the garden and behind us and to the side and—and I have to shut my eyes because it’s too much. My shoulders ache like they’re supporting an extra weight and, dreading what I’m fairly certain I’ll find, I raise my hands and press my four palms against four heads. They’re all human, but there’s four of them. Front, back, left, right. I can feel the rush of air on all of them now.

I have never hated my ancestors so much.

Equus Battle Royal – Round Five

Fourteen Equus contributors have agreed to pit the equine in their story against all the other horse-like creatures in the anthology and fight it out until only one is left standing. That victor shall win bragging rights… and maybe I’ll make a little ‘I won!’ graphic of some sort 😛

How it Works:

Each Tuesday the competitors will be announced and voting will open. Every vote a story receives counts as one point.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the competitors will each roll a twenty-sided die. The resulting number of points will be added to their own score. I will update the scores via a comment on the blog post and social media.

Voting closes on Sunday at midnight MST.

Monday the winner (the story with the highest score) will be announced and move on to the next round.

VS.

Story Title: A Complete Mare

Author: Tamsin Showbrook

Equine Combatant’s Name: Verity Marshall

Species: Norse God/Human hybrid

Strength: 16

Dexterity: 8

Constitution: 15

Intellect: 11

Charisma: 8

Special Attacks: High speed ram using the speed from all Verity’s eight legs.

Sleipnir Smackdown: a high jump into the air to land on the target, who then receives a pummeling from all eight of Verity’s hooves.

Special Defences: 360 degree vision.  Enhanced hearing and sense of smell.  Toughened skin which can protect against blades and bullets.

Note about character photo: Verity in her full hybrid state has four identical human heads, as well as four arms and four legs which end in hooves rather than hands and feet.

Story Title: Rue the Day

Author: Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Equine Combatant’s Name: Nova & Reaver (they’re a team)

Species: Unicorn

Strength: 18

Dexterity: 17

Constitution: 16

Intellect: 11

Charisma: 18

(per Pathfinder stats w/ D&D mod)

Special Attacks: Goring Horn (+8), Striking Hooves (+4)

These specially-trained war unicorns are skilled in the “airs above the ground,” or in RPG terms Acrobatics, and thus can Rogue their way across a battlefield to stomp you dead while simultaneously stabbing your buddy. And there’s not a thing you can do about it.

Special Defences: Magic Circle Against Evil, Too Damn Pretty To Die.

Evil Alignment creatures have difficulty closing distance against a unicorn. They also are a natural example of Reynolds’ Law, being Too Damn Pretty To Die.

Note about character photo: War unicorns were considered too fearsome to depict directly, so contemporary artists’ tended to render them in a very stylized fashion.

How to Vote:

Comment on this blog post with the title of the story you are voting for.

For example, if this week’s competitors were:

Star Wars vs. Star Trek

and you wanted to vote for Star Trekyou would leave a comment that said, “I vote for Star Trek.”

It’s just that easy.

 

Cast your votes now, and may the best equine win!

Round Four Results

After a week of dice rolling and vote collecting the results of round three of the Equus Battle Royal are in. It was very tight this time around, but in the end

Our victor is:

 

Story Title: A Mother Unicorn’s Advice to Her Daughter

Author: J. J. Roth

Equine Combatant’s Name: Mother “Badass” Unicorn

Species: Unicorn

She will be moving on to compete in future rounds, but not right away. Starting tomorrow our combatants will be:

A Complete Mare by Tamsin Showbrook

Vs.

Rue the Day but Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Swimming by Rimfy --> http://rimfy.deviantart.com/art/Swimming-245026984
Swimming by Rimfy on Deviant Art (http://fav.me/d41vs14)

Excerpt from “To Ride a Steel Horse” by Stephanie Cain:

“Not this time.” Jack King was a white-bearded guy of about seventy, with sinewy forearms and powerful shoulders. He was shaking his head. “It’s dead, Demeter. Threw a rod. That’s a whole engine rebuild. Don’t throw good money after bad.”

Demy blinked several times, staring at him. In six years, nothing had been too much for Jack to fix. She’d bought the used Triumph as an act of defiance in the face of turning twenty-five—her sister had laughed and called it a quarter-life crisis. That had been the only truly good thing about her twenty-sixth year. That had been the year the magic took her mother and sister both, but Demy had gotten through it because of the, well, zen of motorcycles.

“I’m sorry, D,” Jack said, patting her shoulder. “Go next door and make Bear feed ya. I’ll drop ya by home when I close up shop.”

Demy shook her head. Jack was open until seven, and it was already past six. She didn’t want to be stuck at home with five more hours to get past midnight—there was too much temptation there. As much as she’d refused to follow in the footsteps of her matriarchs, she hadn’t been able to part with the various magical paraphernalia she had inherited. If she were home when the witching hour of Samhain hit…

“It’s fine. I’ll get Bear to take me home when he closes.”

Jack’s thick, white eyebrows shot up, but he smirked. “Raise a glass for me, too, then,” he said. “Happy Halloween.”

Demy trudged across the parking lot, her boot heels grating on the gravel. There were two dozen bikes parked outside the roadhouse, mixed with a few trucks from local non-bikers, because Bear made the best breaded tenderloin in north central Indiana.

She paused halfway across the parking lot and shoved her hands in her jeans pockets, tilting her head back to stare up at the stars that were beginning to appear. This bike had gotten her through the toughest years of her life. How was she supposed to just turn her back on it?

You could fix it, whispered a voice in the back of her head. Magic can do anything.

“Not anything,” Demy snapped, her voice harsh. It hadn’t brought her sister back. It hadn’t kept her mother from dying.

Equus ARC Giveaway

World Weaver Press is giving away six paperback advance review copies of Equus. In order to enter you need a Goodreads account and to a US shipping address.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Equus by Rhonda Parrish

Equus

by Rhonda Parrish

Giveaway ends June 07, 2017.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

It’s an unfortunate thing but shipping costs outside of the US are so prohibitively high that publishers really do have to limit where they can send ARCs. If, like me, you live outside of the US don’t despair — there is another giveaway coming up soon that you’ll be eligible to enter. Keep your eyes on my blog or subscribe to my newsletter to make sure you don’t miss the announcement 🙂

And if you do win don’t forget to keep your end of the bargain and leave an honest review in exchange for the copy of the book.

Thank you, and good luck!

Equus Battle Royal — Round Four

Fourteen Equus contributors have agreed to pit the equine in their story against all the other horse-like creatures in the anthology and fight it out until only one is left standing. That victor shall win bragging rights which is the best prize of all. Almost.

How it Works:

Each Tuesday the competitors will be announced and voting will open. Every vote a story receives counts as one point.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the competitors will each roll a twenty-sided die. The resulting number of points will be added to their own score. I will update the scores via a comment on the blog post and social media.

Voting closes on Sunday at midnight MST.

Monday the winner (the story with the highest score) will be announced and move on to the next round.

VS.

Story Title: A Mother Unicorn’s Advice to Her Daughter

Author: J. J. Roth

Equine Combatant’s Name: Mother “Badass” Unicorn

Species: Unicorn

Strength: 16

Dexterity: 12

Constitution: 9

Intellect: 16

Charisma: 12

Special Attacks: Self-esteem (psychic) – her certainty of herself makes her enemy doubtful and easier to attack; Mother-flurry (dark) – she talks at her quarry, giving them unsolicited advice until they flee for their lives

Special Defences: Camouflage (usable in forests only), stealth, running away at high speeds

Story Title: To Ride a Steel Horse

Author: Stephanie A. Cain

Equine Combatant’s Name: Aenbharr of Manannán

Species: Each Uisge

Strength: 12

Dexterity: 15

Constitution: 16

Intellect: 14

Charisma: 18

Special Attacks: Sharp teeth for ripping flesh; sticky skin to capture rider; eats cattle and humans.

Special Defences: Can shapeshift between enticing human form and dangerous equine form; is an extraordinarily fine riding horse when it can’t see salt water.

How to Vote:

Comment on this blog post with the title of the story/stories you are voting for.

For example, if this week’s competitors were:

Star Wars vs. Star Trek

and you wanted to vote for Star Trek you would leave a comment that said, “I vote for Star Trek.”

It’s just that easy.

Cast your votes now, and may the best equine win!

Round Three Results

After a week of dice rolling and vote collecting the results of round three of the Equus Battle Royal are in.

Our victors are:

Story Title: The Last Ride of Hettie Richter

Author: Cat McDonald

Equine Combatant’s Name (if known): The Demon of Richter Hollow

Species: Demon

Photo courtesy of Worth1000.com
Photo courtesy of Worth1000.com

Story Title: Riders in the Sky

Author: V. F. LeSann

Equine Combatant’s Name (if known): Peregrine

Species: Damned soul

They will be moving on to compete in future rounds, but not right away. Starting tomorrow our combatants will be:

A Mother Unicorn’s Advice to Her Daughter by J.J. Roth vs. To Ride a Steel Horse by Stephanie Cain

Equine Battle Royal

Excerpt from “Stars, Wings, and Knitting Things” by J.G. Formato:

I didn’t tell him the news until I’d placed the last raisin in my oatmeal. The wise and wrinkled happy face I’d created was quite encouraging. “Marcus,” I said, waiting for acknowledgement and eye contact. His eyes were still mostly contacting the Wall Street Journal, so I cleared my throat and dinged my spoon on his mug. Announcement style.

He emerged from the paper and frowned at the ripples in his coffee. “Why’d you do that? I was reading.”

“Were you?” I asked, genuinely curious. I always thought his morning paper was like an adult security blanket. But instead of making him feel safe and loved, it made him feel all grown-up and professional. Ready to join the Rat Race. Reading it for fun was a totally different story and not nearly as endearing.

“Of course I was, Annie. Now, what were you going to say?”

“I think the house is haunted.”

“You think the house is haunted?

“Mm-hm.”

“Why?”

“Because I saw a ghost.” Why else would I think the house was haunted?

“Where?”

“In the backyard. It was kind of swooshing all around by the swing set.”

“So, really, you think the backyard is haunted.” He looked very pleased with himself, like he scored a point or something. All those years of law school must have really paid off.

“Okay, fair enough. If you want to pick nits, I think the backyard is haunted.”

“What did it look like? Your ghost?”

“It was white, of course. And shimmery. Oh, and it had wings.”

“Like an angel?”

“No, not like an angel. Angels don’t haunt people’s backyards.”

“Of course.” He smacked his forehead—but in a smartassy way, not an oh, duh kind of way.

Excerpt from “Above the Silver Sky” by Daniel Koboldt:

“What do you want for your birthday, Neshka?” father asked.

There was nothing I truly needed. The rain that fed our valley gave us grain and berries and dew squash. We had sheep and hogs for meat, goats for milk. Bees for honey, and a never-ending stream of cool clean water. But mostly, we lived on the mushrooms. Soon my father would begin to teach me the arts of mushroom-tending, and one day I’d take over for him. I watched a trickle of rainwater as it meandered down a stepladder of red-and-white toadstools, each one just shorter than the next, and told myself it would not be so bad. But my lips betrayed my heart to him, and I said, “I want to see the horses.”

“Neshka,” my father said, in his sternest voice. “You know better than to ask for that.”

“Please, father? I only want to look.”

“That’s exactly what your mother said. She only wanted to look, and then the horses took her away from us. Is that what you want? To leave?”

“Of course not.” My voice sounded as small as I felt.

“Good.”

A pool of vague sadness welled up in me, for I’d meant to fight harder to see the horses. He would say no, then I’d throw a fit, and we’d meet somewhere in the middle. Maybe that was creeping up to the edge of the prairie-lands to watch them from a distance. Maybe it was simply hearing the story once more about my mother and the time she rode one. But the hurt in his voice took me aback, and his accusation stilled the arguments upon my lips.

Not that it mattered anyway, because at that moment, the rain stopped.

The gentle patter of raindrops faded into silence, a numbness against my ears. The trickle of water on those red-and-white toadstools slowed, then died. My father and I looked at each other, then up at the silver sky in askance.

“Has this ever happened before?” I asked.

He frowned up at the sky. “No.”

Equus Battle Royal — Round Three

Fourteen Equus contributors have agreed to pit the equine in their story against all the other horse-like creatures in the anthology and fight it out until only one is left standing. That victor shall win bragging rights… and maybe I’ll make a little ‘I won!’ graphic of some sort 😛

How it Works:

Each Tuesday the competitors will be announced and voting will open. Every vote a story receives counts as one point.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the competitors will each roll a twenty-sided die. The resulting number of points will be stolen from their competitor and added to their own score. I will update the scores via a comment on the blog post and social media.

Voting closes on Sunday at midnight MST.

Monday the winner (the story with the highest score) will be announced and move on to the next round.

credit: Dillan Formato

VS.

Credit: Worth1000.com

Story Title: Stars, Wings, and Knitting Things

Author: J.G. Formato

Equine Combatant’s Name (if known): Pegasus

Species: Pegasus

Strength: 13

Dexterity: 12

Constitution: 7

Intellect: 16

Charisma: 9

Special Attacks:

Cosmic Kick- Pegasus rears back and kicks with his powerful front hooves.

Double Team- The little Pegasus, Equuleus, swoops in for an assist. They attack together like some Nintendo Ice Climbers.

Tickle Torture- Pegasus shoots feathers from his wings and tickles the opponent into submission.

 

Special Defences:

Star Wall- Pegasus pulls the stars from neighboring constellations to create a barrier between him and his opponent.

Epic Flap- Pegasus flaps his mighty wings, propelling the opponent backwards and stunning them briefly.

Supernova- An explosive flare bursts forth from the stars, blinding the opponent temporarily.

Story Title: Riders in the Sky

Author: V. F. LeSann

Equine Combatant’s Name (if known): Peregrine

Species: Damned soul

Strength: 18

Dexterity: 15

Constitution: 16

Intellect: 13

Charisma: 12

Special Attacks: Iron hooves that get red-hot for kick attack. Stubborn horse-logic. Flame mane and tail for striking. Occasionally bursts into flame and moves at ghost-speed. He will bite. Plus when fighting demons.

Special Defences: Soul-bound and telepathically linked with a fully-armed and generally cranky Rider. Shared health pool with the Rider. Can look in someone’s eyes and judge the weight of their souls. He is not considered a living creature (damned/undead)

And

VS.

Story Title: Above the Silver Sky

Author: Dan Koboldt

Equine Combatant’s Name (if known):

Species: Equus argentum volantes

Strength: 10

Dexterity: 10

Constitution: 8

Intellect: 8

Charisma: 9

Special Attacks: Road apples from above. This horse can fly, and when high above his opponent, he’ll do what horses do best.

Special Defences: Herd defense. This horses’s band-mates are always on guard, making surprise attacks all but impossible. When you do attack, you’ll have to catch him first. That’s not easy, because he can fly.

Story Title: The Last Ride of Hettie Richter

Author: Cat McDonald

Equine Combatant’s Name (if known): The Demon of Richter Hollow

Species: Demon

Strength: 18 (The demon takes the shape of a plough horse of abnormal height and strength)

Dexterity: 7 (It has hooves)

Constitution: 18 (Just huge man)

Intellect: 4 (The Demon of Richter Hollow is a creature made entirely of hate. It lacks any other decision-making or problem-solving skills.)

Charisma: 14 (The Demon of Richter Hollow is magnetic in the way all hate is.)

Special Attacks: None.

Special Defences: The area surrounding the Demon of Richter Hollow is hot, so hot that vegetation scorches and burns, wood catches fire, and water boils.

How to Vote:

Comment on this blog post with the title of the story/stories you are voting for.

For example, if this week’s competitors were:

Star Wars vs. Star Trek

and

Pirates vs. Ninjas

and you wanted to vote for Star Trek and Pirates you would leave a comment that said, “I vote for Star Trek and Pirates.”

And you don’t need to vote for something in each bracket–if you didn’t have a preference between Star Trek and Star Wars you could totally just vote for Pirates.

It’s just that easy.

Cast your votes now, and may the best equine win!

Round Two Results

After a week of dice rolling and vote collecting the results of round two of the Equus Battle Royal are in.

 

Our victors are:

Story Title: Neither Snow, nor Rain, nor Heat-Ray

Author: M.L.D. Curelas

Equine Combatant’s Name (if known): Beezus

Species: Thoroughbred cross

Kelpie by Kasey -- http://kasettetape.tumblr.com/post/96373863232/this-was-just-supposed-to-be-a-sketch-but-then-i

Story Title: The Boys from Witless Bay

Author: Pat Flewwelling

Equine Combatant’s Name (if known): unknown

Species: Kelpie

They will be moving on to compete in future rounds, but not right away. Starting tomorrow our combatants will be:

Stars, Wings, and Knitting Things by J.G. Formato vs. Riders in the Sky by V.F. LeSann

and

Above the Silver Sky by Dan Koboldt vs. The Last Ride of Hettie Richter by Cat McDonald

Equine Battle Royal

For now, let’s enjoy short excerpts from the stories whose equines were eliminated in this round–because even though they didn’t prevail today they are great tales, and they’re all good equines, Bront.

🙂

Excerpt from “A Glory of Unicorns” by Jane Yolen:

A tapestry, a tempest, we

Have nothing sentimental. See

That herd of odd-shaped stallions cross

The valley, sort of, kind of horse

With horn.

Excerpt from “Lightless” by K.T. Ivanrest:

Already Fulsa was halfway across the room, nerves coursing around his stomach while he unbuttoned his shirt and tossed it on a nearby chair. Immediately the room grew lighter, and desperate hope fired in his heart. Perhaps he was brightening after all. Perhaps his nightmare was finally over.

He slid a sheer coat across his shoulders and then studied his hands, but could discern no difference in their glow. Here in this secluded tower with only Phaios for company, he had no way to determine whether there had been any further dimming. Beside the lightless slave he always looked radiant, so bright he could almost forget what was happening, and then the empress would visit and he’d see just how quickly his dignity and worth were seeping out of his skin.

A last glance out the window while he clenched his fists and tried to calm his heartbeat. Another last glance toward Phaios, whose silent nod spoke more clearly than any words.

Then he knelt before the door and waited.

Aithra’s footsteps were mere tps on the polished stone, her presence announced instead by the brilliance which preceded her up the staircase, pressing away the shadows with proud disdain and careless ease.

“Your Majesty.”

Her gossamer coat rustled softly, scattering specks of light like jewels for the less fortunate. Even knowing how much of it was unnatural, he envied her splendor. To have so much to shed…

Equine Battle Royal — Round Two

Fourteen Equus contributors have agreed to pit the equine in their story against all the other horse-like creatures in the anthology and fight it out until only one is left standing. That victor shall win bragging rights… and maybe I’ll make a little ‘I won!’ graphic of some sort 😛

How it Works:

Each Tuesday the competitors will be announced and voting will open. Every vote a story receives counts as one point.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the competitors will each roll a twenty-sided die. The resulting number of points will be stolen from their competitor and added to their own score. I will update the scores via a comment on the blog post and social media.

Voting closes on Sunday at midnight MST.

Monday the winner (the story with the highest score) will be announced and move on to the next round.

VS.

Story Title: A Glory of Unicorns

Author: Jane Yolen

Equine Combatant’s Name (if known): A glory of unicorns

Species: Unicorns

Strength: 18

Dexterity: 14

Constitution: 15

Intellect: 16

Charisma: 16

Special Attacks: Can hypnotize with the rhythm of their hooves, are a tempest of flesh and blood, sinew and horn. The herd can trample and pierce, turn like a page and appear anywhere at a thought.

But their horn is proof against poison and can cure any ill-gained wound for foe and friend alike, especially if it is brought against a young horse. Or young page.

Special Defences: Have the ability to mesmerize lesser beings and make them question their reality (and the unicorn’s very existence). Run in a herd making individuals difficult to target. Vanish in a heartbeat.

Story Title: Neither Snow, nor Rain, nor Heat-Ray

Author: M.L.D. Curelas

Equine Combatant’s Name (if known): Beezus

Species: Thoroughbred cross

Strength: 18

Dexterity: 18

Constitution: 12

Intellect: 7

Charisma: 12

Special Attacks: Beezus’s Thoroughbred blood has gifted her with speed. She can start and stop on a dime. She also uses her fast breaks for surprise attacks, quickly closing the gap between her and her foe. Once Beezus has brought the battle to her enemy, she will crush their skull with her hooves. Beezus’s speed also makes her ideal for delivering payloads.

Special Defences: Beezus has highly developed senses, especially her hearing and sense of smell. Those senses aid Beezus’s tactical skills, helping her choose the ideal battle grounds. Her natural agility, honed by her field-hunting training, allows her to elude attacks. In tight situations, Beezus will employ deadly force with her teeth and hooves.

And

VS.

Story Title: Lightless

Author: K.T. Ivanrest

Equine Combatant’s Name (if known): Sona

Species: Selphoros (space pegasus)

Strength: 15

Dexterity: 16

Constitution: 12

Intellect: 5

Charisma: 10

Special Attacks:

Wing Strike: A strike to the opponent with the wing(s); can only be used while the selphoros is on the ground

Capriole: A midair strike; the selphoros leaps into the air and strikes out with the back hooves

Plummet: A flying attack in which the selphoros flies above her opponent and drives downward—can be used to knock a flying creature off course, or to crash down upon a creature on the ground. It hurts. A lot.

Special Defences:

Starfire: A selphoros’ fiery coat will burn any creature which comes into contact with it; the longer the contact, the higher the damage

Story Title: The Boys from Witless Bay

Author: Pat Flewwelling

Equine Combatant’s Name (if known): unknown

Species: Kelpie

Strength: 13

Dexterity: 9

Constitution: 12

Intellect: 16

Charisma: 16

Special Attacks: Super sneaky musical abduction attack! Underwater zombification of enemies!

Special Defences: Superglue skin, now with more hazardous waste slime!

How to Vote:

Comment on this blog post with the title of the story/stories you are voting for.

For example, if this week’s competitors were:

Star Wars vs. Star Trek

and

Pirates vs. Ninjas

and you wanted to vote for Star Trek and Pirates you would leave a comment that said, “I vote for Star Trek and Pirates.”

And you don’t need to vote for something in each bracket–if you didn’t have a preference between Star Trek and Star Wars you could totally just vote for Pirates.

It’s just that easy.

Cast your votes now, and may the best equine win!