LIES RIPPED OPEN
by Steve McHugh
Over a hundred years have passed since a group of violent killers went on the rampage, murdering innocent victims for fun. But even back then, sorcerer Nate Garrett, aka Hellequin, knew there was more to it than simple savage pleasure—souls were being stolen.
Nate’s discovery of the souls’ use, and of those supporting the group’s plan, made him question everything he believed.
Now the group Nate thought long dead is back. Violent, angry, and hell-bent on revenge, they have Hellequin firmly in their sights. And if he won’t come willingly, they’ll take those closest to him first.
The battle begins again.
I walked over to the second agent, whose back was toward me as he stood a little further into the park, and placed my hand on his shoulder. “That’s enough,” I repeated, but he spun around and all of the breath left my body at once, followed immediately by pain as it exploded across my torso. I glanced down as a shimmering blade of ice was pulled free from my chest. It was covered in my blood. I dropped to my knees and watched as the magical weapon vanished from view. The pain forced me to abandon my night vision, and the darkness once again took control.
The overwhelming thought that bounced around my head was that neither of the SOA agents had been sorcerers. My attacker crouched beside me. “They interrupted me and my prey got away,” his accent was from East London, but sounded slightly different from many of those living in the city. As if he’d been away from here for a long time, and had not quite remembered how the accent was meant to sound.
I glanced up at him, still unable to breathe; the blade had punctured a lung. It wouldn’t kill me, but it would be a few hours until I was back to normal, and without my night vision I could have been staring into Merlin’s own face and I’d never have known.
The man got back to his feet and kicked me onto my back. “I should make sure you remember your time here, but I’m sure your comrades over there will be able to do that better than I could.”
~Buy LIES RIPPED OPEN:
SOME WORDS FROM STEVE…
A Kind of Magic
When I first started to think about the Hellequin Chronicles books, and the characters within, it didn’t take me long to begin work on the magic used within the world they inhabit.
The actual creation of the world they live in was fairly straight-forward. It’s our world, only with a twist. The gods and goddesses of myth are real, although they’re not actually gods. Instead they’re sorcerers or elementals or any of a few dozen other species. And they mostly all work within Avalon, a shadowy organization that rules the planet, allowing the humans to go about their day-to-day business, and only really involving themselves when they want something.
Alongside our world, are realms. Other places connected to our own via realm gates. It allows me to keep the stories in our own world, but move them to Tartarus, or Albion, when needed without cramming everything into one place. It took me a while to make sure I had everything I needed, and that the rules of the world I created worked without making anything overly complicated, but once it was done, the stories came much easier.
I wanted to do something similar with the magical side of things. I wanted to keep the magic system fairly simple, but with room to grow and become more complex as the books went on. Mostly I didn’t want to dump a huge amount of information on readers for book 1.
I settled on splitting magic into three types. The first is elemental. It consisted of fire, air, water and earth, and I allowed my sorcerers to be capable of using two of those four, but unable to use the opposite magic to one they already knew. So, fire couldn’t use water for example.
The second type is called omega magic and has mind, matter, shadow and light as part of it. Again the sorcerers can’t use the opposite magic to one they’ve learned, and again they can learn two. I had this set of magic only become available to those sorcerers powerful enough to be over a certain age. The third was blood magic. Something all sorcerers could weald, and something dark and dangerous.
Over the course of the books I’ve added the ability to merge the different elemental magics (so fire and air becomes lightning), as well as having other species show different types of abilities not available to sorcerers. It’s become much more complex as the books have progressed, but ever to the point where it’s confusing. Or at least I hope so. Creating magic systems and worlds is great fun, one of the most entertaining and difficult parts of creating the story you want to tell. Everything has to feel real, and the rules you set have to be maintained. You can’t just change your mind half way through a book or a series, at least not without reasons and consequences for those rules being broken.
Even so, it’s one of my favourite things to do. To be able to get stuck into a new world and create it as a place for your characters to live is something I hope I never get tired of.
Steve McHugh is the author of the popular Hellequin Chronicles. The fifth book, Lies Ripped Open, was out on 25th August 2015. He lives in Southampton on the south coast of England with his wife and three young daughters. When not writing or spending time with his kids, he enjoys watching movies, reading books and comics, and playing video games.
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