Friday, November 24, 2017

Hell Hounds – Meet the Pack
(Part III)

By now, quite a few of you will have enjoyed the latest adventure to befall Daemon Grim and his pack of infernal bounty hunters – the Hell Hounds.

To increase your enjoyment in a way that helps you understand the mindset behind each main character, I’ve been giving you a little rundown on those individuals making up the Pack – as it’s unlovingly called by the denizens of hell.

This week should be fun, because I’ll introduce you to one of the basest, most disturbingly twisted, foulmouthed people who have ever lived. And that was before he wound up in hell.

Who am I talking about?

Meet Yamato Takeru’s pack partner
Champ Ferguson

Ferguson was born in Clinton County, Kentucky, on the Tennessee border, an area known as the Kentucky Highlands where people owned few slaves. The oldest of 10 children, Champ initially followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a farmer.
Sometime in the 1850’s, Ferguson moved with his wife and family to the Calfkiller River Valley in White County, Tennessee. On the outside, he appeared to be an ordinary guy. However, there was something about him that earned a reputation for violence even before the American Civil War began.
(In 1858, he led a group of men who tied Sheriff James Read of Fentress County, Tennessee to a tree. Ferguson rode his horse in circles around the tree, hacking at Read repeatedly with a sword until he was dead. He also allegedly stabbed a man named Evans at a camp meeting, though Evans survived.)
That sadistic streak was given a new lease of life during the Civil War.
Let’s set the scene:
East Tennessee – a mostly mountainous region – was generally and, in many areas, strongly opposed to secession from the Union. The remainder of the state, which had more slaveholders, particularly in the plantation areas of West Tennessee, supported the Confederacy.
This historical division made East Tennessee a target for unofficial engagements by both sides. In addition, Confederate troops were committed to run-ins with local partisans, which took place far from the front.
From 1862, Tennessee was occupied by Union troops, which contributed greatly to tension and division. The mountainous terrain and lack of law enforcement during the war gave guerrillas and other irregular military groups significant freedom of action. Numerous incidents were recorded of guerrilla and revenge attacks, especially on the Cumberland Plateau. Families were often divided among their members. (For example, one of Champ Ferguson's brothers fought as a member of the Union's 1st Kentucky Cavalry and was killed in action).
Early in the war, Ferguson organized a guerrilla company and began attacking any civilians he believed supported the Union. And that was the problem, for many local feuds were carried out in occupied Tennessee under the guise of war.
Champ’s men cooperated with Confederate military units led by Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan and Major General Joseph Wheeler, and evidence suggests that Morgan commissioned Ferguson as a captain of partisan rangers.
Ferguson's men, however, were seldom subject to military discipline and often violated the normal rules of warfare. Following their captain’s lead, led them along a dark path and stories circulated about Ferguson's alleged sadism, including tales that he on occasion would decapitate his prisoners and make a sport of rolling their heads down hillsides.
It was said he was also willing to kill elderly, wounded and bedridden men.

At the war's end, Ferguson disbanded his unit and returned home to his farm. As soon as the Union troops learned of his return, they arrested him and took him to Nashville, where he was tried by a military court for 53 murders.
Ferguson's trial attracted national attention and soon became a major media event. One of Ferguson's main adversaries on the Union side, "Tinker Dave" Beatty, testified against him. Just as Ferguson had led a band of guerrillas against any real or suspected unionists, Beatty had led his own band of guerrillas against any real or suspected confederates. Not surprisingly each had done his best to kill the other. Ferguson acknowledged his band had killed many of the victims named and said he had killed over 100 men himself, insisting this conduct was simply part of his duty as a soldier. To no avail.
On October 10, 1865, Ferguson was found guilty and sentenced to hang. He made a statement in response to the verdict:
“I am yet and will die a Rebel … I killed a good many men, of course, but I never killed a man who I did not know was seeking my life. … I had always heard that the Federals would not take me prisoner, but would shoot me down wherever they found me. That is what made me kill more than I otherwise would have done. I repeat that I die a Rebel out and out, and my last request is that my body be removed to White County, Tennessee, and be buried in good Rebel soil.”
He was hanged on October 20, 1865, one of only two men to be tried, convicted and executed for war crimes during the Civil War. Following his wishes, Ferguson was buried in the France Cemetery north of Sparta, White County, Tennessee.

But he wasn’t allowed to rest for long. Satan had been watching events closely and had designs in mind for this cold and callous killer, especially as his tracking skills were close to that of his chief bounty hunter.
Not a day had passed before the undead Champ Ferguson was reanimated – his senses, strength and speed augmented – and set the poignant task of hunting rebels, these ones dissenters and revolutionaries against the despicable doctrines of the devil.
And he was a natural. For nobody he has ever been set upon has escaped.
(Mind you, that might also have something to do with one of the other little adaptations the Undertaker was authorized to make. You see, Champ’s favorite tidbits are the body parts of those he’s sent to apprehend) yum yum!
By the way...this is what he looks like now in armor:

And there you have it, a bluntly straight little introduction to the best tracker this side of infernity, apart from Daemon Grim himself of course.

But don’t take my word for it.

D’ya Wanna see just how brutal and crass Champ can be?
Then look no further:


Friday, November 17, 2017

Hell Hounds – Meet the Pack
(Part II)

As I mentioned previously, now that Hell Hounds has had a chance to pick up the scent of things in the world of dark fantasy, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce you to the starring cast of the book’s namesake – The Hell Hounds themselves.

Last time out we took a closer look at the pack leader – Nimrod – Daemon Grim’s closest friend and supporter for thousands of years.

Today – we’re going to find out more about one of the most fascinating warriors in history.
Meet Nimrod’s own right-hand-man
Yamato Takeru

Originally known as Prince Ōsu, Yamato was a legendary prince – and despite his heritage,  a ninjutsu master of the Yamato dynasty – and son to Emperor Keikō, who is traditionally counted as the 12th Emperor of Japan.
When alive, Ōsu had something of a violent, ruthless temperament and slew his older brother. Fearing who else he might kill among the royal family, Emperor Keikō sought to keep him at a distance and perhaps cause his downfall by sending him to the Izumo Province and then the land of Kumaso – (which today are in the eastern part of Shimane and the Kumamoto Prefecture).
However, Ōsu succeeded in defeating every enemy sent against him, in one case, cross-dressing as a maid attendant during a drinking party. One of those he defeated but left alive praised him far and wide, giving him the title Yamato Takeru, meaning The Brave of Yamato.

Regardless of his son's increasing fame, Emperor Keikō's mind was unchanged. Instead, Keikō sent Yamato Takeru to the east where people still dared to disobey the imperial court. There, Yamato met his aunt, Princess Yamato-hime, the highest priestess of Amaterasu at Ise Grand Shrine. Princess Yamatohime showed him compassion and lent him a holy sword named Ame no Murakumo no tsurugi (Kusanagi no tsurugi), which Susanoo, the brother god of Amaterasu, found in the body of the eight-headed great serpent, Yamata no Orochi.
It was while he was in the eastern lands that Yamato Takeru lost his wife Oto tachibana-hime during a storm when she sacrificed herself to soothe the anger of the sea god. Though Yamato defeated many enemies, he became embittered. As he returned home, he blasphemed a local god of Mount Ibuki, which sits on the border of Ōmi and Mino Provinces. The god cursed him with disease and he fell ill and died circa 114 C.E.
The possessions of the dead prince were gathered together along with his fabled weapon – the Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven, and they can still be seen this day in Atsuta, Japan. Yamato himself was interred at Ise and his tomb is known as the Mausoleum of the White Plover. A statue of Yamato Takeru stands in Kenroku-en in Kanazawa, Ishikawa.

Of course, pilgrims will find nothing there, for Yamato was such a prolific killer that he was condemned to spend all eternity in hell.
Arriving in the underworld, this former undefeated prince wasn’t in the least bit intimidated and put his former talents to use, savagely murdering anyone who stood in his way. So prolific were his antics that they came to the attention of Lucifer himself, who subsequently tasked his Reaper to assess the ninja warrior’s suitability for a higher level of dishonorable service.
Yamato passed that assessment, and, after a visit to the Undertaker where his violent temper was molded and directed in a colder, much more focused and balanced outlet, Yamato Takeru was ordained into the Ancient Disorder of Hell Hounds where he has served with distinction for two thousand years.
Even better, his elevation unlocked within him a whole new level of ninja skills, and now, Yamato is enhanced by elemental abilities that grant him a distinctive edge in virtually every circle in existence.

And there you have it, a detailed introduction to a character who is one of Daemon Grim’s most dependable henchmen. But don’t take my word for it. See for yourselves, in:


Friday, November 10, 2017

Hell Hounds – Meet the Pack

Now that Hell Hounds has been unleashed on the world and you’ve had the chance to delve into dark and dangerous goings on in the underverse, I thought it might be a nice idea to introduce you to the cast.
Fans have already met Daemon Grim, and by now, will understand a little more about what drives him to serve as death’s ambassador in the most ruthless realm in existence.
But what about those he leads?
In particular, exactly who are the Hell Hounds that assist him in hunting down some of the underworld’s most dangerous, despicable despots? Let’s find out, shall we…
Meet the Lead Hell Hound

Nimrod was once a “biblical figure” described as a king of Shinar (Assyria/Mesopotamia), who, according to the Books of Genesis and Chronicles, was the son of Cush. That makes him the great-grandson of Noah.

You might be thinking, “Hang on, what would the great-grandson of Noah be dong in hell?”
The answer? Exactly what he does best: killing!

The only clues you get from the Bible is a references in Genesis 10: 9 & 10 that states:
“he displayed himself a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah. And the beginning of his kingdom came to be Babel and E’rech and Ac’cad and Cal,neh in the land of Shinar.”

Extra-biblical traditions explain things further. Nimrod’s tastes included the hunting of men, and as a builder of many cities throughout the region, he was the originator of the concept behind the Tower of Babel. Yes, he wanted a grand monument to glorify his supremacy and teach men how to challenge God himself and take revenge for the destruction wreaked upon mankind during the flood.

Look how God reacted. Genesis 11:6-9 states: After that Jehovah said: “Look! They are one people and there is one language for them all, and this is what they start to do. Why, now there is nothing that they may have a mind to do that will be unattainable for them. Come now! Let us go down and there confuse their language that they may not listen to one another.” Accordingly, Jehovah scattered them from there over all the surface of the earth, and they gradually left off building the city. That is why its name was called Ba’bel, because there their language was confused and they were scattered.

Yes, to prevent that city’s construction, God himself confounded the original language all mankind spoke at that time to prevent them from being able to communicate effectively. That’s why – when people cluck away in front of us or speak in a dialect we can’t comprehend – we sometimes say they’re “babbling on” (Babeling – on), a throwback to the time of what would have been Nimrod’s greatest accomplishment.

Condemned, Nimrod was just the kind of rebellious soul Satan needed to set a fire under the rabble infesting every level of hell. And he did just that, proving his unworthiness countless times, so that he ended up being chosen by none other than the Grim Reaper himself to be anointed into the Ancient Disorder of Hell Hounds.

Nimrod is Grim’s closest fiend and confidant, and they have worked together now for close to four thousand years due to the vagaries of the warped Sheolspace continuum binding the underverse together.

So there you go. A timely introduction to a character I’m sure you’ll get to know and love.

See what you think of the way Daemon Grim’s right-hand-man accounts of himself, in: