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 Finals

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: “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.

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.”

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!

It’s just that easy.

 

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

Semifinal Round Two Results

The voters came out in droves for this one. That, coupled with some really good rolls on one side and some really bad rolls on the other made this round a bit of a runaway.

The winner of the second round of the semifinals and our last finalist is:

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 Tobin Elliott, please contact me to claim your prize 🙂

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

Story Title: “Rue the Day”

Author: Laura VanArendonk Baugh

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

Species: Unicorn

Starting tomorrow our combatants will be:

The War Unicorns from “Rue the Day”

vs

The Damned Soul “Riders in the Sky”

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

Kelpie by Kasey

Excerpt from “The Boys from Witless Bay” by Pat Flewwelling:

Jimmie and I, well, we used to get in all sort of trouble down in Halifax when we were away at the university. The only way you were safe from his pranks was by holding his beer for him.

Like that time we tied up Berton Blake the night he got drunk and started pawin’ on my girl Millie while I was away to home one week. Soon as I had come back, we took him out for a good night’s drinking, and once he was about half-cut, we left him down on Barrington wearing a tutu and bra filled with about three bags of sparkles—you know the kind you get at what’s-it, Michael’s? Anyways, he comes to in the middle of Friday morning traffic, and he sees what ‘e’s wearing, he screams blue bloody murder, and rips the two cups apart like he’s Hulk Hogan—sparkles everywhere, like friggin’ fireworks from his man-titties. I handy ‘bout died dat day, laughing so hard. Berton never laid another hand on Millie, but he sure laid a few on Jimmie and me.

Jimmie, he’s an engineer now, and I’m a financial advisor. That means he thinks up the pranks, and I’m the b’y who pays for it all. Five times now, I’ve had to cough up Jimmie’s bail, and it was worth every penny.

So you’d think I’d have known better than to go out to his house, middle of October, dark as Satan’s arse, raining so hard you can’t tell sea from shore – the same night I’d forgotten it was Millie’s birthday—when he calls me up all out of breath and begs my help.

“What’s wrong for ya, b’y?” I ask.

“You remember Buddywhatshisname?” he pants.

“Oh, sure! Him! The one with the face and a couple of arms.”

“George MacCrae!” The name rings a dim bell from our boyhood days.

“He the one with the growth over his eye?” I ask.

“No.”

“The one who married his own sister by accident?”

“No.”

“The one—”

“The b’y who disappeared in ‘82, suspected drowned in Dunker’s Pond.”

“Oh him,” I shout, and Millie turns up the TV. On the maps, it’s Dunkirk Pond, but it’s so deep and deadly that it’s been called Dunker’s since long before Georgie took his final dip. There’d been a hell of a hue and cry when he went missing. Nobody could ever explain why the ten-year-old had walked off in the middle of the stormy night, leaving one shoe on the banks of Dunker’s Pond, and the other under his bed.

“What about ‘im?” I ask.

“I think I know what got ‘im.”

“What?”

“Come over, and I’ll explain when you’re here.”

I laugh at that and lean into the phone with my hand around my mouth to tell him I’ve already got a pan-shaped face, thanks to me forgetting it was Millie’s birthday.

“Tell her you left her present here!” Jimmie says.

“I’m not coming over in falling weather like this just to hear another ghost tale about Georgie Frigging MacCrae!”

“No ghosts,” he says. “People. And they’re at it again.”

 

Pat is currently raising money for adult literacy. To learn more, and perhaps support this worthy cause, click here.

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 (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?”

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!