SOULSNATCHER, CHAPTER 4

Chapter 4

Order under siege

An assault on sacred ground

The night of slaughter

 

“There has never truly been a wolf in the Silver Order. While of course the Order touts itself as open to all species, and a few of our kind have followed its beliefs, in all recorded history there has never been record of a brute Brother, a fae Sister, or a knight of either.

“Admittedly, there are some practical reasons why this is the case. Wolves wander; the urge to travel is ingrained deep within, and staying in one place for too long is antithetical to us. Since officially joining the Order requires constant contact with Aedis Centralis, most of us would not be able to follow the vows.

“Sadly, the other major reason for our lack of representation in the Silver Order is simple prejudice. For all the strides made by the Argenteus House and their followers in advancing society, they have historically been either unwilling to treat us as true equals, or content to ignore us altogether. This is hardly uncommon; in too many places in the world, our kind is still seen as ‘uncultured’, our ways ‘primitive’. The less charitable tend to call us ‘savages’.

“We have heard ourselves called as much for generations upon generations. We are ‘savages’ because we prefer not to wear clothing. Because when hungered, we favor red meat rather than fowl, fish, grain, or produce. Because we eschew the noise and complexities of life in Unify and the surrounding villages for a plainer, quieter existence. Above all, because our ways are strange and alien to those sentients who call themselves ‘normal’. We are, therefore, less ‘normal’ than they… though perhaps just a bit more normal that our half-brethren, the wolfoxes. But what, to a wolfox, would be considered ‘normal’, then?”

[Excerpt from the writings of Io of the HearthPack]

 

Oh, he remembered the Silver Order. Elite. Self-righteous. Pretending to be dedicated to “life” while suppressing or excluding those who did not fit their narrow definitions of the word. Worst of all, serving as a front for the damned stinktails and their poisonous belief that females were to be elevated above their natural station. The florises… the florises honestly told people that they cared about all life while forcing their males into subservience. Blatant hypocrites, all of them.

And yet. The Silver Order’s diversity was exactly what Stalker needed to revive Mother, to make her proud, to give her new children to avenge the slain. How ironic, that a former sentient of the one species to be excluded from the Order would see to its downfall.

That last thought gave Stalker pause. Former? Of course he was still sentient, and he still considered himself a wolf at least partially, though he was altered with his rebirth. A wolf, and yet not a wolf. One of Mother’s children, and yet different from any who had come before: able to speak sentient languages, walk on two legs, think and act independently. A true study in contrasts, was he not? A crossbreed of sorts, but certainly a more worthy crossbreed than any of the blue-furred taints.

Wolfoxes… he never despised the taints like some of his brethren did, like the foxes as a whole did. Some of them had to be decent… and a female was a female, though of course his preference had been for proper fae. Still, in his old life he preferred not to think of the wolfoxes at all. Now he realized that using one of them to pave Mother’s way home would be inappropriate. She deserved better. Better, as her new children would be. Not misbegotten things like wolfoxes, but children with the best of every species.

Stalker thought of these things as the mouths in his hand did their work, siphoning the last of the ferret watcher’s blood as his soulless body quivered in its death throes. He had been a good, strong hobferret. Faithful to his Order and his Grand Mistress to the last. Worthy of being a sacrifice. Daring enough that when Stalker climbed over the edge of the battlement, the hobferret did not cower or flee in terror, but made a desperate charge with his spear… the spear now broken and protruding harmlessly out of the wolf’s belly. The sight had rattled the watcher enough that he dropped his guard. Stalker pounced upon him, ripped off his leather breastplate, and extracted his soul. Without it, the hobferret’s body slipped into living death, and he made no move to resist as Stalker tore out his throat with his fangs.

More

New Fan Art!

Two new items in the Gallery from Silver and Suoish!

Chibi Zero, by suoish

Tasakeru rabbit sketch, by Silver

Aside

BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 25 – Shameless Self-Promotion

Week 25 – Shameless Self-Promotion

Well, not like I don’t shamelessly self-promote normally, but anyway. I finally got Episode 04 of Silent InvenTOYry done, which you can watch below.

Please remember to like, comment, subscribe, and share. As I mentioned before, CoPromote seems to be irreparably broken, so I’m going to need serious word-of-mouth to drive up my view count.

Anyway, if that wasn’t enough, there’s this short but incredibly stupid promo I just made for Episode 05. It’s going to be quite an occasion. Unfortunately, YouTube’s blasted auto-copyright flagging struck again, so the music I had in mind for this promo is… much less impressive than it should be. I’m sorry, but it was either this or silence.

Anyway. My goal for this week is to finally get Chapter 4 of Soulsnatcher up, so everything else is on hold until that’s done. I wanted to have it up today, but… bleh. Brain no work good.
– BHS

(Originally posted on DA: )

  • Tasakeru Book III: Soulsnatcher, Chapter 4: 10.25 pages done
  • Tasakeru Patreon: 2 Patrons
  • Book II Appendix: 0.5 pages done
  • Shattered Skies Chapter 27: 0.25 pages done
  • Silent InvenTOYry Episode 04: COMPLETE!
  • Silent InvenTOYry Episode 05: ~05% done

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BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 24 – Back in Business

Week 24 – Back in Business

I finally got back to work on Tasakeru this weekend. Maybe it was thanks to knowing that I have an ungodly busy week coming up, but I was able to finish all but the last scene of Soulsnatcher Chapter 4. It feels good to be out of my rut, not gonna lie.

There’s also good news on the Silent InvenTOYry front: Episode 4 is almost finished, and the item that was going to be reviewed in Episode 4 and is now the subject of ep 5 has finally shipped and is on the way. So the plan is to put ep 4 up this week, then get to work on 5, and do three mini-episodes to make up for the hiatus.

I think I may hold off on doing more of Shattered Skies for a while. Back in January I made a resolution to finish the revised edition of Soulsnatcher by July, and that’s coming up fast… I mean, there were unforeseen circumstances what with the death of my hard drive and a huge upsurge in petsitting jobs, but still. I’d like to keep that resolution if I possibly can.

Here, have an Overwatch thing that I did.

– BHS

(Originally posted on DA: http://tasakeru828.deviantart.com/journal/BHS-Blogress-Report-2017-Week-24-686128654)

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BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 23 – The Things I Do for Laughs

Week 23 – The Things I Do for Laughs

No writing progress, but I’ve got some great news for all four fans of Silent InvenTOYry… To make up for the two-month hiatus, I’m going to be putting out at least two full episodes this month, and possibly three more as mini-episodes. I spent most of this weekend working on the new Episode 04, in fact. Because I finally got sick of waiting for the other item to ship out, I decided to go ahead and bump what was going to be Ep. 5 ahead one. This one will be slightly different than past episodes, but I think it’ll add some variety. That said, since the preparation for this episode was particularly expensive and CoPromote seems to have utterly borked itself, so I’ll need you guys to push this episode hard when it goes up this week. Watch it multiple times with your ad blockers off, like it, subscribe, share it with your friends and encourage them to do the same. I mean, in a show of dedication to my craft and/or horrendous financial irresponsibility, I spent $30 for one gag in one shot that lasts for maybe fifteen seconds of the video’s running time… as I said in this week’s title, the things I do for laughs…

Hoo boy, am I all in on Kamen Rider now. I’m not even finished with Gaim yet, and I’m watching W and seriously considering Ryuki too… My first of what will surely be many KR Figuarts is arriving tomorrow, so maybe it’s time to start investing in some more shelves… As I’ve been telling people, it’s a very deep hole I’ve found myself in, and if the franchise weren’t hitting so many of my personal fandom buttons I would be a lot more concerned for myself.

Sad news today… the original voice of Wallace from Wallace and Gromit, Peter Sallis, died peacefully at 96 years old. Wallace and Gromit is much-beloved for very good reasons, and I count myself lucky that I was introduced to the series at such a young age. It’s right up there with Monty Python, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Good Omens as one of the pillars of British comedy in my book. I’m going to be watching the whole run of Wallace and Gromit as tribute later this week. Rest in peace, sir. Thanks for all the laughs.

– BHS

(Original post on DA: http://tasakeru828.deviantart.com/journal/BHS-Blogress-Report-2017-Week-23-684791469)

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BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 22 – Colorful Language

Week 22: Colorful Language

Whaddya know, I actually managed to write a bit this past week. And since my item for Silent InvenTOYry is still not here as of this writing, putting that project officially on hold, I might as well try to spend the week ahead working on Tasakeru.

Whatever I end up doing this week, I’ll be glad for a respite from petsitting, however brief it is. Capping off almost a solid month of jobs was my “problem child”, a dog that’s more trouble than ten of my other usual clients put together. I’ve known for years that he’s badly trained (whoever attempted to housebreak him didn’t finish the job properly), but he topped himself on Sunday night by getting into his family’s kids’ art supplies, tearing up a bunch of their drawings and eating an entire bag of (thankfully non-toxic) crayons. This is in addition to peeing on their kitchen floor. I came in the house to find an ungodly mess that took a good half-hour to clean up, and second very colorful mess in their basement this morning after the crayon bits passed through his system.

It’s a good thing all these jobs have paid off handsomely, at least. I made enough to afford some new equipment for SI, plus a refurbished PS4, which should be here by the end of the week. I’ll do my best to not let my new gadget distract me from what I should be doing, despite the temptation to the contrary.

I’m afraid it may be official: I’m now all in on Kamen Rider. I decided to restart Gaim after getting two-thirds of the way through it, just so I could watch it again with :devVdrake:, an unprecedented move. As if that wasn’t enough, I’ve also started Kamen Rider W in my off-time, and I’ve received recommendations for Den-O, Fourze, Drive, and this year’s Ex-Aid from various other friends. This could be a very, very deep hole I’m falling down, but if the series continues to impress me like Gaim and W have… well, at least buying a whole new franchise’s line of Figuarts should be fun until the inevitable bankruptcy.

I am seriously tired, but before I crash for the night I have the Season 5 premiere of Steven Universe to comment on over on my Tumblr. Head on over there to see if my feels survive.

– BHS

(Original post on DA: http://tasakeru828.deviantart.com/journal/BHS-Blogress-Report-2017-Week-22-683423690)

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BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 21 – Sick as a Dog

Week 21 – Sick as a Dog

To get right to the point: nothing got done this week. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

I had a new client for my petsitting business, taking care of a very friendly but high-maintenance dog for almost a solid week, and that would have been tiring enough without my entire family, including myself, getting sick in succession from the same respiratory bug.

So yeah, that was pretty much the sum total of what’s happened to me over the last seven days. If I can get through the next week without any major complications and/or disasters (knock on wood), then maybe, maybe I can actually get back to writing.

– BHS

(Original post on DA: http://tasakeru828.deviantart.com/journal/BHS-Blogress-Report-2017-Week-21-682129382)

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BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 20 – My Not-Happy Place

Week 20 – My Not-Happy Place

At last, I’ve got my new graphics card and can use ZA BEASTO again. No more literal headaches from staring at my old monitor, and hopefully no more figurative headaches from dealing with the “computer repair shop”. Please note the sarcasm quotes. Last Friday was my last straw in trying to work with the idiots that run that place. I brought my PC in on Thursday after installing the new card borked my system, brought it home on Friday, and they had done damn near nothing to fix it; it had the same problem it had when I brought it in. Fortunately, I was able to fix the problem myself, and after about a half hour of yelling on the phone, I finally got them to give me a refund.

Now the only thing in the way of completing Silent InvenTOYry Episode 4 is, you guessed it, actually getting my item in the mail. I sent an email off today about it, and they’ve promised to respond within 24 hours.

Shattered Skies Chapter 26 is finally done as of a few hours ago. Those of you who have read it already can probably tell why it was such a drain to get through… suffice to say, it required me going deep into my Not-Happy Place for nightmarish imagery I could use. I’m really proud of how it turned out, but good lord am I glad that it’s finished. Now I can devote all my energy and time to Tasakeru again. Which, considering I’m writing a Stalker chapter, isn’t much less nightmarish… but with Stalker I at least have a framework of where to go and what to do.

– BHS

(Originally posted on DA: http://tasakeru828.deviantart.com/journal/BHS-Blogress-Report-2017-Week-20-680840778)

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BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 19 – I Don’t Know What to Write Here

I wish I could say I made some progress on Tasakeru this week. That was my intention, but for whatever reason it’s been near-impossible to concentrate on it for the past week or so. I dunno… maybe it’s due to the next Shattered Skies chapter occupying most of my mental energy. Chapter 26 will contain scenes I’ve had in the works for a very long time, scenes which I feel need to knock it out of the park if they’re going to deliver the proper emotional impact to my readers.

Maybe it’s because said scenes are so different from what I usually do that my batteries are drained for other things. Or maybe it’s lingering guilt or self-imposed pressure for not getting a chapter up during April. Or because Chapter 4 of Soulsnatcher is undergoing such a substantial revision from the first draft that it’s practically a new thing. *shrug*

Like I said, I dunno. Being a creative type can be really frustrating at times.

Not much went on in terms of my personal life. I watched a whole lot more of Kamen Rider Gaim, that’s about it. My Tumblr commentary for the new episodes of Steven Universe is going to be quasi-live this week, so that’s notable, I guess. Still no graphics card, and I still can’t do much more on Silent InvenTOYry until I actually have the item to review. I’ll just have to hope I get both this week, I suppose.

Oh, I just remembered that I did throw this together over the weekend, based on something that made me laugh in the newest Super Best Friendcast.

More activity next week, hopefully.

– BHS

 

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BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 18 – Henshin A-Go-Go

My tech troubles last week were compounded by catching a really nasty cold, so so much for being productive. My computer is now mostly fixed… except that the new graphics card to replace the one that died may take as long as a month to get here, so I’m still stuck on my old 20-inch monitor, because of course the graphics card had the HDMI ports on it and now it’s gone. After eight months of using ZA BEASTO, I’m having a really hard time readjusting to the smaller screen.

That said, once I learned that I might have to wait on the card, I decided to at least try to get whatever I could done on the next Silent InvenTOYry episode in advance. As it turns out, VEGAS does work with just the hardware I have. It doesn’t work well, but it does work. So I put together about a minute thirty of footage as a test run, and it turned out pretty well. I also took the time to lower the entry bar again on my Patreon. Let’s put this in nice, enticing bold caps: now you can get the first level of rewards (Ashigaru Tier) for the minimum pledge of $1 per chapter.

Anyway, since :devVDrake: and I finished Shinkenger, I’ve been scratching my toku itch via other avenues. This may well be a huge mistake, but I decided to finally jump into Kamen Rider, the darker and edgier older brother of the Super Sentai/Power Rangers franchise. I’ve been meaning to watch Kamen Rider Gaim for some time now, since that series was written by Madoka Magica‘s Gen Urobuchi, so I’ve started with that. Let me tell you, if I wasn’t convinced of Urobuchi’s mad genius before… He’s possibly the only man on the planet who could take a concept as patently absurd as “gangs of underground street dancers in a dystopian, corporate-controlled city participate in Pokemon-esque monster battles and transform into fruit-themed samurai”, and not only make it work but make it compelling drama. The sheer, crazy awesome lunacy of the show is best embodied by one particular character… and again, only Urobuchi would take a campy, flamboyant, crossdressing, French-speaking patisserie and have him turn out to be a massive badass in and out of Kamen Rider form. Kamen Rider Bravo, alias Pierre Alfonso Oren, is set up as an absolutely ridiculous character who transforms into an even more ridiculous-looking durian-themed samurai/gladiator… and then he proceeds to wipe the floor with his first two opponents and carve a swath through the rest, because said campy, flamboyant patisserie also happens to be somewhere around six-foot-five, built like a pro-wrestler, and a former member of a French military special forces parachute regiment. I realize the last paragraph or so must read like I’ve recently taken a whole bunch of LSD, but I assure you I’m making none of this up.

That said, I’m trying my best not to let my new enthusiasm distract me much more than it already has.

– BHS

(Original post on DA: http://tasakeru828.deviantart.com/journal/BHS-Blogress-Report-2017-Week-18-Henshin-aGoGo-678258158)

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