Thurvok, the sellsword, and his friends Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, the sorceress Sharenna and Meldom’s sweetheart Lysha set sail for the sunken city of Nhom’zonac, looking for the lost treasure of the Sea Kings. But they have to get past the Lovecraftian horror guarding the city first.
This is a short story of 5300 words or 19 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.
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- The Tentacled Terror is a short story of 5300 words or approximately 19 print pages in the Thurvok series, but may be read as a standalone. This story is a digital premiere and has never been published previously.
- The Tentacled Terror was one of the stories written during the 2019 July short story challenge, where the aim was to write a short story per day in July 2019.
- Like many of the July short story challenge stories, The Tentacled Terror was inspired by two pieces of fantasy art, namely this one and this one.
- Sword and sorcery is closely related to Lovecraftian horror and indeed the earliest sword and sorcery stories appeared next to Lovecraft’s tales of cosmic horror in the pages of Weird Tales. So it was only natural to have Thurvok and friends encounter a Lovecraftian monster.
- I also had a bit of a joke about Lovecraft’s tendency to call his various monsters “too terrible to describe” by having Sharenna comment “Now that is helpful,” when Danvalk calls the monster “a thing so terrible that there are no words to describe it” in true Lovecraftian fashion.
- In the first draft of the story, the lost city of Nhom’zonac (and for the record, I cannot remember the name of the city either, but had to use cut and paste to get it right) did not start to sink again. I changed it to give the flight of our heroes more urgency.
- The name of the fishing sloop Mermaid’s Scorn really did come from a generator (so did the lost city of Nhom’zonac). And so in the story, Sharenna mentions sacred naming wheels used to name ships.
- Unlike my other stories, the Thurvok series is credited to Richard Blakemore, whom regular readers will recognise as the pulp writer protagonist of the Silencer series. As for why the Thurvok series is credited to Richard Blakemore, in the Silencer story Mean Streets and Dead Alleys, Richard purchases the January 1936 issue of Weird Tales and is pleased to find a new instalment of a Conan serial by Robert E. Howard, a Jirel of Joiry novelette by C.L. Moore, a Jules de Grandin novelette by Seabury Quinn as well as one of Margaret Brundage’s famous covers. He also muses that he would like to take a stab at writing something like that one day. This throwaway scene got me thinking, “What if Richard actually did write a sword and sorcery series for Jake Levonsky?”
- When I found myself writing a sword and sorcery adventure for the July short story challenge some time later, I suddenly wondered, “What if this was Richard Blakemore’s lost sword and sorcery series?” And so I decided to credit the story to Richard and pass myself off as the editor who rediscovered him. I even created a blog, a Twitter account and an Amazon author page for Richard and filled out a Smashwords interview in his persona.
- The cover is stock art by Chainat.