Gunsmoke & Dragonfire

UPDATE – April 7th, 2019: Now that the proof has been approved, you can snag a paperback copy of Gunsmoke & Dragonfire from Amazon, too!

UPDATE – March 27th, 2019: Trade paperback and hardcover copies of Gunsmoke & Dragonfire can now be pre-ordered directly from Aradia Publishing!

Gunsmoke & Dragonfire is finally here! It’s a hearty anthology of 25 fantasy Western stories (which dabbles into other speculative genres, like science fiction, post-apocalyptic, and cattlepunk, too). The book’s also a pretty special release for me, since my little tale’s both the first one in the collection and the story behind the cover art.

Gunsmoke-and-Dragonfire

The tale, Inheritance, is a brief encounter between a gunslinger and an enchanter, brought together by their late fathers’ past dealings. I wrote it after being inspired by the anthology’s title during its call for submissions, and I’m thrilled that Diane Morrison, Gunsmoke & Dragonfire’s awesome editor, was kind enough to include it in the book. You can snag the ebook on Amazon right now, and paperbacks should be available soon!

Exhumation

Deep in the mountains, tired men mined for ore
Swinging their pickaxes, desperate to score
Veins of tough metals for engines of war
Downward they dug towards the land’s hardened core

During the quest a rich patch had been struck
The shimmering boulders were thoroughly stuck
But small, sparkling nuggets were carefully plucked
Assessing the lot, the group sang of their luck:

O Gods of the Mount, you’ve sent us a fine treat
This is just what we need to get back on our feet
Catapults and ballistas our foes’ll soon meet
We’ll make ’em pay twofold for our past defeats!

They sent for more workers to dislodge the haul
Who widened the tunnel upon which it sprawled
Plans were set in the stone and positions were scrawled
With hammers and chisels they started to brawl

Each solid blow spawned a light trickle of dust
Reinforcements arrived, well-equipped and robust
More rubble flew past as they ruptured the crust
Heaps of ore in sight, the men slavered with lust

Together the miners cleared out the whole take
They dreamed of the weapons that they would soon make
But the ore sprung to life, at last it was awake
It crushed the invaders, their backs it did break

These mountains belong not to beings which sow
Eons past, living metals would shelter below
Through the gravel and dirt the titans would burrow
Slumbering for a time in their hardened grotto

The intruders lay dead and the creature of chrome
Thrashed through the fresh mineshaft, beginning to comb
For more of its kind resting in the rock dome
They would rise as a legion and fight for their home


Exhumation by Ethan Hedman