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Posted on January 9, 2015

Another aspect of the new and improved Monster in Boxers that really shines is the villain. In the first book, Horde Lord was nasty, but his motivation wasn't that logical or compelling.

The first book was told from a narrative POV that switched on a dime. This time around, there is more structure. Readers get a chapter from each of the main characters: Jason, Reggie, Amy, and Troy. It then repeats. About three or four chapters in each book will showcase the villain's POV.

Chapter 13 is presented below to show you the first appearance of Horde Lord. I didn't delve into his physical description much this time because I wanted the kids to see him in all his terrifying awesomeness when they cross paths with HL near the end of the book.

This is a first draft, so I apologize for any untidiness in the editing department. I just wanted to get you a peek at my process in these early stages because I'm so darn excited about this series.


Chapter 13

Horde Lord stared at the scrying web woven for him by the Sin Weavers, a fiercely loyal monster clan. Fifty feet in width it stretched upward even more, disappearing into the inky blackness of his always-in-shadows high ceiling. He liked to keep his private chamber dark.

Placed on either side of the web, two large mushrooms provided the only light in the room, their pustule-covered caps giving off a green bioluminescent glow.

Horde Lord relaxed his massive pincers and brought up his right hand. Sweeping it in a gentle arc in front of him, he danced his long fingers across the webbing anchored to the floor, strumming a melody with it that activated the tool's advanced features. He took several loose strands in his hands and tugged them about. This shuffled through the images on the screen, presenting his kingdom in all its wretched glory.

His world was dying, contracting from some cosmic disease that ate up more and more of his kingdom's once vast vistas. The Grey, what his lieutenants called the dimensional sickness, had poisoned all the other land masses on his world except this one, Umbra, his kingdom. He had taken in almost all the other monster clans as they fled the Grey.

The image on the scrying web showed the Grey inching across the Catacomb Sea toward his land. His advisors told him he had several years before it reached their shores, but Horde Lord knew better. His bond with their world told him it was only months away.

He tugged at a web, and the scene shifted to the Shattered Mountains, home to the latest clan to show up at his doorstep, the Flash Fiends. He watched the Grey seeping across the terrain, bringing death and freezing time to all it claimed. Thankfully, it moved slower over the earth. Its approach here would take years. He switched to the Forgotten Fields. There was good news on that front. The oddball nature of that region had stalled the Grey. Many suggested that the fields could be a haven for their people, but Horde Lord knew that those exiled to such a maddening place lost first their memories and then their will to live. No, the fields were suicide, not a haven.

Maintaining order among monster clans whose history had been more about conflict than cooperation was not easy. Couple that with the dire state of his dimension and any other leader might have been inclined to abandon hope.

He had their opponents to thank for the reluctant union between the numerous and eclectic clans. The first motley crew of earth champions that had driven them back in 2088 had inspired a common goal among the feuding factions. While they had ultimately failed at invading the Earth, they had learned much of their enemy. They no longer faced a group that was five strong. Their numbers were down to three, one dispatched by Horde Lord himself and the other now his ally. He had enjoyed turning the woman to his side. She had more in common with monsters than humans, and her ties to her humanity grew fainter the longer she stayed in her super-powered shell and played the role of monster. Soon, she would no longer be just playing.

It had been her plan to move the invasion to another time period. 2015, seventy-three years earlier, was where they would bring about proper salvation. The only snag in their plan, the other side still had their time traveler. As reluctant as the enemy was to slip through time personally, Horde Lord knew they had sent battle gear back to the period. He had a whole new team of monsters to wage war against.

This time he hoped to make it a clean sweep and kill all five of the loathsome humans parading around as monsters. He detested that they borrowed their forms, played with their little science to concoct puny versions of beastly behemoths.

At least he knew the time traveler wouldn't bring along reinforcements from the future. He was too scared of unraveling the timeline, a risk that became magnified when sending actual organics back. Horde Lord hoped those fears would remain intact. Facing five inexperienced monsters was better than eight.

He switched the image yet again, looking at the tranquil small town from above. It was rare to peek in on Earth like this. Of the dozen spy-eyes they had sent across weeks earlier, only this one still transmitted. The others had burnt out. Blame for that had attributed to the faulty spellcasting of a young priest named Joptok. The inexperienced Portal Priest had been made an example of, sent to the Forgotten Fields to have his life scattered to the winds.

The surviving spy-eye just floated a mile up, looking down at the humans' unimpressive settlement. With its conjuror dead, no one else could maneuver it. Not that Joptok had been able to either.

If only Horde Lord could peek in on his opponents more than just through a bird's eye view. The small window of time before the Chaos Storm emerged and synced their homeland with Earth was a critical stage of his operation. Sadly, he had no idea where his opponents hunkered down, just that they resided somewhere in their quaint home of Lillyville.

He strummed the anchored webs in reverse, powering down the scrying web. He needed to check in with his Portal Priests to hear of their progress in determining weak points in Earth's dimensional shell. They had assured him a breakthrough would come soon, that any day now they would be able to unleash the Chaos Storm over Lillyville and establish a beachhead, but he didn't trust them. The priests were from an elder clan, and their loyalty was questionable. They saw him as an upstart, a newbie undeserving of uniting the clans.

What did they know? Had any of them ever brought the clans together like he had? Granted, the threat of the Grey and Earth's defenders had helped him bring this cooperation about, but it was still him at the forefront, engaged and willing to make the necessary sacrifices.

He had heard rumors that many of the elder clans were planning an uprising. He wondered if that would ever materialize. So far, his spies had been competent in rooting out any meaningful dissenters. Flinging rebellion-minded monsters into the Eternity Maw or sending them to the Forgotten Fields were threats he routinely made good on.

He left his chamber and wound through the maze of corridors in his palace to arrive at the staging area of his invasion, the immense cavern of the Portal Priests. Let them show their true colors to his person.

Horde Lord strode among his fellow monsters, radiating bloodthirsty authority and evil charisma. That's how you rule over others, he thought. He would channel their hate and direct it to their rightful enemies . . . the boxer-wearing monsters of 2015.


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