Equus Battle Royal Winner

It was a very long, difficult battle, but after more than two months of slugging it out, round after round, the Equus Battle Royal has a victor:

Congratulations to Nova and Reaver for making it all the way through the tournament to come out on top, and congratulations also to Peregrine the damned soul who gave the war unicorn team some strong competition!

Please enjoy the short excerpt from each of their stories:

Excerpt from “Rue the Day” by Laura VanArendonk Baugh:

There was a small group gathered on the beach, half-ringed about a woman of perhaps forty, dressed in fitted skirts with her hair drawn back severely. Trainer Isabel, stablemaster and head of all the royal trainers, stepped close to speak with her, and Galyne thought they might have been sisters.

Then Trainer Isabel stepped back to join the half-circle. “We are ready when you wish.”

The sun dipped against the ocean. Rue stepped close to Galyne, keeping his eyes on the sorceress as if he did not trust her. Sorceresses had that effect on people, especially at first.

The woman spoke strange words in an awful voice and raised her bare hands against the wind and sea. She stood immovable on the wet sand, deliberately weaving her hands as if to pull the wind like wool or candy.

And then, as another wave rolled to break against the shore, Galyne saw a horse’s form in the waves, its mane rising and falling with the waves’ crests, though there was no flesh-and-blood horse there. The dread woman on the sand called again, and the head broke above the water, an ivory horn piercing the air.

The unicorn was the color of night upon the ocean, its mane and tail like foam lit by moonlight. It rose majestically from the waves and stepped onto the packed sand, arching its thick crest as if aware of its own powerful beauty. It paused before the woman who had summoned it from the elements and raked the sand with one magnificent hoof.

“Reaver,” said the sorceress simply, and the beast bowed its head in gracious acknowledgment. Trainer Isabel stepped forward, extending a halter of worked silver and gems, and the unicorn tossed its head, sending spray over the women, and then extended its neck to accept the halter.

“How does she do it?” Rue whispered.

“It’s a request,” Galyne said. “She invites a unicorn from the elements, but it is always the unicorn’s choice. She grinned. “You don’t argue with a creature of magic who has agreed to fight on your behalf.”

Reaver, gleaming with seawater and his new silver halter, walked away with Trainer Isabel. Galyne’s eyes followed them. “I hope I have a chance at him,” she said. “He’s gorgeous.”

“Like everything to do with unicorns,” Rue said, and there was a note in his voice which should not have been there.

Galyne looked at him, but he was watching the sorceress and Trainer Isabel, and she did not ask him to explain.

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

The storm shook the tavern as it descended into the valley, drowning out most conversation between the women. Jovial whoops mingled with the wind and the distinct sound of iron hooves within the thunder. The hissing crack of a whip. Her shoulder ached fiercely.

The cacophony persisted for what seemed like hours and Delia eventually got to her feet, peering out through the boarded window.

“Should’ve been done by now,” she murmured. “Clouds are dipping low. Looks like we’re in the middle of the warpath.”

Her voice trailed off as she peered closer, her eyes widening in shock, oblivious to the boards bowing near her face.

Hennessy leapt to her feet, pushing Delia to the ground as the wood splintered. Delia’s scream was punctuated with another shout from within the tavern. She stayed crouched low, guiding Delia to the door as the storm whipped through the broken window.

“Delia?” someone bellowed, followed by the sound of snapping wood and another scream from a neighbouring room.

Hennessy kept Delia shielded as dusky wisps of cloud seeped into the room. She heaved the door open and launched them both onto the landing, slamming it closed behind them.

“We’re alright, Sergei!” Delia yelled, finding her voice. “Damn it.” She fumbled to tear the hem of her dress with shaking hands.

Instead, Hennessy pulled a handkerchief from her pocket and dabbed the blood dripping down the side of Delia’s face.

“I thought I saw a boy in the storm. West Osmond.” Delia winced at Hennessy’s touch, and took over, pressing the cloth firmly against her temple. “You can’t believe what you see. Sometimes the storm shows you things. Things to make you come out and get caught in it.”

Hennessy steadied the other woman and hustled down the stairs. A prickle of fractured memories made Delia’s suspicion feel true.

“I’ll be fine,” Delia assured. “We’ve got a bunker beneath the floor, but Sergei isn’t going to let you in after how the two of you got off.” Wind whipped through the exposed bar, slamming doors and shaking rafters. “There’s a tunnel, under the last table on your right. It leads over to the church. Father Monaghan will let you in. He can’t say no if you ask for sanctuary.” She gave a wry smile. “Old custom, but useful for us shadowy women.”

Delia quickly unfastened her cloak and tossed it to Hennessy before standing on her own strength.

“Take this and stay outta that storm, you hear?”

Hennessy clasped the cloak around her neck, running across the empty bar, and hauling chairs aside until she found the entrance to the tunnel. Slamming it closed above her, she fled into the earthy darkness.

‘Are you safe?’ Peregrine’s panicked thoughts flooded her mind. ‘Has the wind blown you out to them? You are very small, with only two legs…”

In a blatant and transparent attempt to get more votes I’ve also been giving away a book to random voters. This week’s giveaway was complicated by the fact my blog was down for a bit on Saturday and to fix it we had to roll it back to a previous version of itself. A version that didn’t include most of the votes that had been cast. Thankfully I had a physical tallysheet showing what the scores were, but not the individual voters.

I wanted to thank those voters who came back and commented to re-add their name into the draw, so this week I had Siri choose two random winners.

Sarah Miller and Rachel, Siri has chosen you as the winners of this week’s draw. Please drop me an email at rhonda.l.parrish@gmail.com to choose your prize and tell me where to send it.

On a related note, some of the other prizes have not been claimed and were won by people who didn’t leave an email address. So, if you happen to know Tobin Elliott and/or Sylvie Stulic give them a nudge in my direction, would you?

If you’ve enjoyed the excerpts from the anthology I’ve been providing through this competition, or hell, even #EquusFight itself, please consider pre-ordering a copy of Equus today. I’d really appreciate it — pre-orders are important.

Pre-order Equus now:

World Weaver Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iBookstore

Equus Battle Royal — Semifinals (rnd. 2)

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.

Story Title: The Boys from Witless Bay

Author: Pat Flewwelling

Equine Combatant’s Name: 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!

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.

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.

You may vote once each round, and each vote enters your name into a draw to win an awesome book (details here) so you could win alongside your favourite equine!

 

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

Photo courtesy of Worth1000.com

Semifinals Round One Results

Wow. This was an exciting round with the competitors getting votes and passing the lead back and forth right up until the very end! When voting closed only one point separated the two equines!

The winner of the first round of the semifinals, and moving on to the finals is:

Story Title: Riders in the Sky

Author: V. F. LeSann

Equine Combatant’s Name): Peregrine

Species: Damned soul

Every person who votes has their name tossed into a virtual hat for a chance to win their choice of any of these unclaimed books. This week’s winner is Sylvie Stulic. Sylvie, please contact me to claim your prize 🙂

(More details and a larger version of this picture are available at http://www.rhondaparrish.com/incentive/ )

Starting tomorrow our combatants will be:

The War Unicorns from “Rue the Day”

vs

The kelpie from “The Boys From Witless Bay”

 

Excerpt from “A Mother Unicorn’s Advice for her Daughter” by J.J. Roth:

Hide in plain sight. Let the dappled light through the forest canopy color your whiteness with camouflaging shadow. Let stillness be your friend when the hunter’s horn or adventurer’s voice carries through the vegetal quiet.

Breathe without sound. Depend on secrecy and stealth.

Once you are sighted, the hunt begins. Once the hunt begins, you are vulnerable.

Be generous, but circumspect, with your gifts. Dip your horn in struggling streams when no one is looking. Draw its healing point along the withered bodies of sick ferrets and ailing fawns. Lay its curative spiral against the breasts of lost, unconscious humans, but stay out of their healthy fellows’ sight.

Cover your tracks as you leave. If caught, you’re more likely to be destroyed than loved.

This constant hiding may make you feel unreal.

This is normal.

If you like what you’re reading, you are going to love Equus. And good news — you can reserve your copy now to make sure you’re among the very first to get it when it’s released on July 18th!

Pre-order Equus now:

World Weaver Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iBookstore

Equus Battle Royal – Semifinals

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.

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: 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.

You may vote once each round, and each vote enters your name into a draw to win an awesome book (details here) so you could win alongside your favourite equine!

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

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

Round Seven Results

Wow. Round seven was a fight to the finish and the results were very close. In the end only three points separated the competitors. The winner of round seven is:

Story Title: The Boys from Witless Bay

Author: Pat Flewwelling

Equine Combatant’s Name: unknown

Species: Kelpie

Starting tomorrow our new combatants will be:

A Mother Unicorn’s Advice for her Daughter

vs

Riders in the Sky

 

Excerpt from “The Last Ride of Hettie Richter” by Cat McDonald:

Hettie chased after them. At first, the running was easy, and she could hold the riders in her vision as solid earth flew by beneath her. Her breaths carried in the scent of the nearby creek, bloated with summer heat and rot, and thick, wet summer air coursed in and out of her.

But step by step, they drifted away from her. She bruised her feet on stones in the road, struggled to fill herself with air, wore her knees out, and still the riders drifted away. Hettie only managed to keep up with them—screaming until she had to choose between screaming and running—until the crossroads where her family’s lane met the main road.

There, at last, hats and heads disappeared around a corner, shrouded by thick greenery. Without that fixed point in her vision to focus on, she collapsed. A pain leeched out of her knee to the rest of her leg, her ankle rolled under her, and she toppled to the ground, knees first, in a wheel-rut.

“Damn you,” she whispered through the wreckage of her voice on heaving, desperate breaths, “damn you both. Walk tall in heaven my ass.”

Dirt wedged its way under her fingernails as she tried to force herself back up, and brutal sunlight beat on her back. The rage that had drawn her out of the house still pressed on her insides, squeezed against her stomach. She fought for every breath, and coughed bitterly as her burning lungs failed each time.

She coughed and choked. The burning rose up inside her, past her heart, under her ribs, and into her throat as a huge, solid mass. Another cough brought something thick and warm up to touch the back of her throat. She gagged as it slithered out over her tongue and fell to the earth in front of her, a huge black-red fleshy lump about the size of an apple.

As she watched, it soaked into the ground at the crossroads. Spit and iron-tasting bile dripped over her teeth after it, and she sat there shaking for a few moments, confused and cold and slightly hollow.

If you like what you’re reading, you are going to love Equus. And good news — you can reserve your copy now to make sure you’re among the very first to get it when it’s released on July 18th!

Pre-order Equus now:

World Weaver Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iBookstore

Equus Battle Royal — Round Seven

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.

In addition, anyone who votes will be entered to win a book. Details are here.

VS.

Story Title: The Boys from Witless Bay

Author: Pat Flewwelling

Equine Combatant’s Name: 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!

Story Title: The Last Ride of Hettie Richter

Author: Cat McDonald

Equine Combatant’s Name: 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 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!

Photo courtesy of Worth1000.com

Round Six Results

Round six was a story of RNG — good or bad depends on which equine you were cheering for. In the end, some bad rolls decided the victor of this competition more than anything.

The winner of round six is

Story Title: Riders in the Sky

Author: V. F. LeSann

Equine Combatant’s Name: Peregrine

Species: Damned soul

 

Starting tomorrow our combatants will be:

“The Boys from Witless Bay” by Pat Flewwelling

vs

“The Last Ride of Hettie Richter” by Cat McDonald

 

Excerpt from “Neither Snow, Nor Rain, Nor Heat-Ray” by M.L.D. Curelas:

No one had been alarmed when the first Martian vessels had landed, pocking the ground like open sores. They’d only been mildly concerned when the cone-shaped ships vomited forth the spindly, tripod machines. It wasn’t until the trains stopped running that panic had set in. Then the tripods had come with their Black Smoke and heat-rays.

The Martians had disrupted communications. Nothing worked, not the telegraph machines nor the new telephones. Messengers were needed. Messengers on horseback, because human runners were too slow and easily killed by the Martians and their Black Smoke. But horses were scarce so when the general had sighted Beezus, a fine hunter, with a skilled rider—her—they’d been pressed into service on the spot, no matter that she was a girl, a civilian, and a daughter of good family.

And now she and Beezus would be part of the messenger team sent out to the docks—integral to the coordination of the Navy escort for the evacuee ships, or so she’d been told. Emma scowled. Her revolver would’ve been of better use helping her family travel to Chelmsford than giving messages to a boat.

The mare snorted against her neck and started mouthing her hair. Emma laughed. “Enough of that.” She pushed the horse and Beezus obligingly pulled her head back into her stall.

Emma rubbed the mare’s nose. “Can’t fool you, can I? Yes, we’re going out.” When Beezus nodded her head, Emma wagged her finger. “Business. Not a pleasure ride.”

Beezus huffed.

After checking the mare’s water and hay, Emma resumed her equipment check. It was the mare’s nervous whinny that halted her. She caught sight of Beezus’ wide, rolling eyes and cast a furious glare at the stable door.

“Stay out there!” she yelled. Scowling, she set down the saddle and shut the top half of Beezus’ stall door. Maybe that would block the pungent scent of that Moreauvian fiend enough for Beezus to calm down.

Emma opened the stable door, grabbed the arm of the man standing there, and tugged him around the corner of the building toward a garden shed—it wasn’t safe for anyone to linger long outside, in case of Martian patrols.

The soldiers had watered down the grounds, washing away most of the deadly Black Smoke, but Emma could see traces of the black grit in the flower beds. She stayed clear of those areas, just in case.

Once inside the shed, she crossed her arms over her chest. “Well?”

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.