A Beloved Project thanks to YOU!
Shortly after 3pm on August 25th, the NEITHER BEG NOR YIELD Kickstarter was granted the “Project We Love” stamp! We passed 100 backers the next day, and today we are almost to US$5,000 in support! All of this is due to YOU faithful fans, friends, followers, and fellow readers, writers, and Sword & Sorcery lovers!
Thank you. Thank you for having the S&S Attitude!
There’s been a few more public discussions with members of the NEITHER BEG NOR YIELD team since our last post:
- A podcast with Clint Werner & Steven Erikson @ Rogues in the House
- A YouTube conversation with John R. Fultz & Scott Oden @ Spiral Tower Press
- Another YouTube conversation with John C. Hocking & Joe R. Lansdale @ It’s Jan!
So what's next for this most important S&S anthology?
Glad you asked!
Right now we’re after our Stretch Goal #3 – CUSTOM HEADINGS: VISUAL APPEAL – Custom story headings to introduce each story (& become available as Special Reward Tiers!)!
But once we surpass US$5,300 in backing, that’s when the fun really begins. We have 3 straight Stretch Goals that bring even MORE S&S Attitude!
ADDING ATTITUDE Part 1 adds another pro author after US$7,100, and at US$7,750 ADDING ATTITUDE Part 2 adds an author from among the backers! That’s right — one backer will be chosen to join this TOC of Attitude if we attain this Stretch Goal!
There’s even more to follow that! With HIDDEN TREASURE, one FINAL name could be added to this TOC that would round out NEITHER BEG NOR YIELD with ALL of the top names in S&S Attitude today!
That’s right: A very special addition to the lineup, bringing the TOC to 20 S&S Attitude tales . . . will be announced once we break through the first ADDING ATTITUDE Stretch Goal!
Here's a Sneak Peak at the Goodness that Lies Within NBNY!
excerpt THE LAST VANDALS ON EARTH
by Steven Erikson
On the run, of course, we staggered blown and beaten into the ruin of an old castra. Like so many of the abandoned Roman forts, it was in the middle of nowhere. Four of us, along with Bulgu, who was either a manservant or a slave or both or neither – not belonging to any of us, anyway, who’d led us here only to give his gummy smile at the dusty gates and say “No water!”
Our captain, with the unlikely name of Raptus Hasding (talk about hedging your bets), probably carried the nickname Langobard among his men, on account of his long beard, but we weren’t his men and besides, Langobard was a curse name, at least as far as Gunderic was concerned (God knew, that was a popular name for a generation or so), but even Gunderic didn’t want to cross the captain too much, so we called the man by his rank or the royal Hasding, or Raptus. Never mind. Naming conventions among us Vandals is a bit complicated. Blame Stilicho, the Latin-spewing traitor.
Now Gunderic’s an odd one to be sure. An Agonistic, a Warrior of Christ, probably a Donatist to boot. So, with all that, you’d think pious in the extreme, with his holy club and suicidal death-wish, ‘Laudes Deo!’ and all that. But his shield is black as pitch. Well, covered in pitch, which is black, when not full of bits of straw and whatnot, the pitch being sticky. So, black shield and are those smears of charcoal still visible in the creases of his face, on his sweat-slick forearms and neck? And what of the fine long two-edged sword in addition to the club? Vundal steel to be sure, and no amount of obscuring could hide the runic inscriptions on the blade. So, a bit of a mystery is Gunderic, barring the manic, fanatical gleam in his eyes. Sworn guardian to the creaking wagon we’d dragged with us. Well, a couple oxen did the dragging, but you know what I mean. Full of loot, probably. We’re good at that.
Leaving my wife and me. I’ve described her aptly already. She had Alan blood, and Goth blood, and Sarmatian blood, Roman and maybe even Sueve for all I know. By that I mean, she had the blood of the aforementioned peoples all over her. Who and what her parents were was anyone’s guess. Appalled, is my answer.
A true Arian, a true and proper Christian in other words. A Manichean, a Zoroastrian, too. Also a worshipper of the ancient Twin Gods, and probably a high priestess of Isis besides. I don’t know what she was and never did and never will. Let’s put it this way, gods probably vied with each other for her blazing, snarling soul, then wept when they lost her. So, mercurial is a fitting appellation.
None of that is relevant. What you need to understand about Respendial is the abject terror she generated in company. Our (now) dead King Gelimer himself quailed before her. His rotting corpse would probably do the same even now. I mean, just look at her name! Some barbaric Iranian tongue coughed that one up, still causing confusion among the few sages and mystics who know of such things, as it might well be a man’s name. But my wife is all woman, of that I assure you.
Who then am I? Also unfortunately named – in fact, we all were, we who were left. Strange. No matter. I am Ulfilas. Little Wolf – I know I know! Was there not an Ulfilas rolled down from Sleza Mountain itself? There was. The little shit ended up in Constantinople, writing up the Bible in some ghastly language of his own making (you know the one, the Little Wolf Bible), and I’m proud to say: no relation, none at all. Just a fucking name and proof of my parental paucity, or at least the utter failure of imagination on their part.
Still, am I wolfish? Maybe a bit. I grew into it, I suppose.
The Roman fort was blood-red in the dying sun, how fitting. Our horses were so spent they weaved like drunks as we passed through what was left of the gate after Bulgu’s idiotic pronouncement, as if we couldn’t see the well half-buried in sand and the wooden bucket lying on its side so withered and dried up my grandmother would look pretty beside it, and her dead fifty years now.
The debacle of the battle, where Justinian swatted our sunburnt asses, had scattered what was left of us. Some fool notion sent our little group south, into the desert wastes, past dried-up farms left empty by the hounding of usurious Roman tax-collectors long before we Vandals arrived. Then the wind-scraped blow-outs of ancient rubble marking a building here, a temple there, the wandering secrets of the desert the whimsical blasting winds revealed then hid again just as quickly. You need to understand this. This was no normal world. No, the old Roman province of Africa was a land that never sat still, that sculpted itself anew following every storm, and of storms there were plenty. You’d never know what you’d wake up to after a night of the howls and hisses. Now imagine the impact of that, down in your restless soul so eager for the familiar, for permanence. No, here, all was in eternal flux, even the ground beneath your feet.
Is it any wonder we Vandals and our glorious kingdom vanished in a puff of sandy wind? Because sure as God was unbegotten, I know we’re done. Gone, never to rise again. This defeat wasn’t like all the others, you see. Cock-whipped by the ferret-faced Franks, the Assi-kissing Langobards (the real ones), filthy Goths of both stripes, Romans, Alans and Huns, we always somehow skidded free of utter annihilation. Our kings were killed on the battlefield, or captured (and killed), or something worse, like being exiled to Britannia (poor bastard, Igili, wonder whatever happened to him? Nothing good, I’m sure). Now the damned Greeks with their cataphracts and Hunnic hirelings showed up, for no good reason other than wanting our land, not that they’ll ever hold it (but that’s just my opinion). It’s the Moors, the yodeling Berbers, who’ll swallow up the province of Africa, mark my words.
This time, nowhere to run to. Nowhere to hide out and lick our wounds. Maybe the tents of the Cabyles, for our women, anyway. But we weren’t even close. Just the four of us (and Bulgu), all alone in a sand-whipped fort that hadn’t seen a garrison in two hundred years.
Gunderic was seeing to the oxen, who seemed in better shape than our horses, damn their fly-bitten hides. Nasty breed, probably Alan or Sarmatian. Somewhere to the east, anyway, near the smelly butthole of Europe (that would be the Caucasus Mountains if you didn’t know). Believe it or not, we hung around there for a bit too, before the Pannones, before Gaul, before Hispania, before Africa. It’s a wonder we didn’t pay a visit to Hibernia (though I did hear about an offshoot of our tribe attacking some city on a river called the Ganges, way off the edge of the world. They lost, by the way). Anyway, it’s no wonder we picked up lots of other people on the march, more losers from some godless armpit who’d been kicked out by someone else. And that included smelly oxen and if you trusted those doleful eyes you’re a fool.
Now Gunderic was circling his wagon, checking the huge wooden wheels, the axles, rivets and whatnot, incessantly scratching his ass while doing so.
I decided I’d seen enough of that so I turned to my wife and said, “Now what?”
She’d unsaddled her mount, leaving the beast to wander, and was crouching over her satchel. “We eat.”
“But I don’t want to cook.”
“I don’t care.”
“Fine then, I’ll cook.”
The captain had gone to check the one building still standing, disappearing into the gloom of the gaping doorway.
I lowered my voice, “That captain. Royal blood. How did he end up with us?”
Gunderic strode over, pausing to unsling his sticky black shield and propping it up against the low stone wall encircling the well. “Was sent back to me,” he said. “No. Not me. The wagon.”
“Oh, right.” I squinted at the huge monstrosity. “We need to ditch that.”
Gunderic’s heavy brows knitted, nay, clenched, nay again, turned into a giant glowering fist above his soot-rimmed eyes. “No.”
“It’s slowing us down too much. We saw that cloud. Berbers for sure. Probably already on our trail.”
“No. I guard the wagon. This is my task.”
“Oh? And who gave you that task?”
“King Gelimer himself.”
“So his orders don’t count for anything anymore.”
“Even a dead man’s orders stand. Until he says otherwise.”
Now it was my turn to frown, adding in a side glance to my wife, but she was busy laying out all the food I had to cook. Not one for conversation, my beloved. What better wife than that? “Agonistic, if he’s dead he’s not saying anything ever again.”
“So I am stuck with guarding the wagon. Now, stop looking at it.”
“I would, only you’ve got me curious. Well, it’s got me curious. What’s in it?”
“The Royal Treasure.”
Okay, that got Respendial’s attention, and now she too was squinting over at the wagon.
Seeing this, Gunderic set a hand to his longsword. “No one goes near it. Not even for a look under the tarp.”
“Why not?” I demanded.
“You cannot be trusted, of course.”
“Why not? We helped guard that damned thing, cut our way out of the press, beat off the screaming mob!”
My wife and I looked at each other. Then I coughed and said, “Gunderic, so are you.”