Over the rolling emerald blaze of the halfling warren — dotted here and there with round wooden doors of orange and white — a sickly green gloom had come.
The white of Sheriff Parnor’s pony shone gold in the strange new light. The pony was striking. She was descended from the famed tetherless line that was the ancient pride of the Sheriffs of Heathmoor Shire.
The Sheriff blew hard into the mountain ram’s horn tied about his neck. His silver armour gleamed under his loose tunic.
The wave of reeking rot struck him even before the gash opened in the sky. The stench of death was so powerful it could reduce the untrained mind to chaos. The shrieks of the people of Heathmoor began.
Then the molten slit in the sky tore open wide and the demon hordes poured through.
With the shire burning around him, Sheriff Parnor dismounted, unsheathed his rapier and ran into the sacred glade where the red heartstone of his people had been set into an ancient mushroom of stone.
A demon stood waiting there. It was immense beyond reason and had the quick, twitchy face of a black rabbit with the horns of a gazelle and the eyes of a cat.
“You will leave this place you perversion of the natural order,” The sheriff walked directly into the demon’s presence. Not a hint of fear was in him. His grey eyes sang kindness and ferocity. His silver hair whipped in the hot wind about his helm. “And you will leave now.” He said it as though he looked down on a lesser, though his height was fully beneath the demon’s knees.
Then, to the bewilderment of all a deep wound opened in the demon’s nose and, by following its arcing trajectory, the Sheriff saw his young deputy, Grovis Goldwheat, land in the soft grass. The fiend’s infernal blood was hissing on the blade his rapier. When Grovis looked up triumphantly he saw nought but fear in his Sheriff’s eyes.
“Grovis. No.” The sheriff’s words were whispered and so Grovis did not hear them, but he saw them upon his sheriff’s lips: the words that would haunt his dreams.
Then Parnor’s eyes were ablaze with the fires of the Hells as the wounded demon, clutching his ruined nose and roaring his rage, became tendrils of white-plasma smoke that flowed into Sheriff Parnor. Grovis saw the kindness die in his hero’s eyes.
There was a popping sound and the demon, Sheriff Parnor, and the shire’s heartstone were gone.
Instantly, the demon hordes were gone too. In the new absence of anarchy, sobbing grief and moans of agony could now be heard across the hills of Heathmoor.
Deputy Grovis Goldwheat stood up, sheathed his steaming rapier, and leapt to his people’s aid. He was Sheriff now.
But he would not be staying for long.
The word was a whisper in his sleeping mind. And the voice that uttered it was not his. The dream ended and his inner senses now grasped at the first threads of wakefulness and the outer world.
Somehow he knew the miraculous device would be there in his hand.
Demonsling — like a crossbow, yet, possessed of no string or bow: an alchemical masterpiece of steele, fire, and deafening, explosive death to the foes of kindness and decency everywhere.
“Demonsling of Heathmoor”. A Halfling Spaghetti Western. On his relentless hunt for the demon that possessed his mentor Sheriff Parnor, Deputy Grovis Goldwheat encounters wild new peoples and ways of seeing the world. He will do anything to slay the fiend, Zon-Nandaroth. But is this cold drive for revenge really what he wants? Or is it the ravenous hunger of the mysterious hand-cannon the dwarves call Demonsling.