Monday, January 22, 2007
The Fang--Part 2
Part 2 of 3 from S-Man's introductory story:
Guided by the touch of stone and probing with his sokae, Rathe followed the winding passage of the cave. He strained for any sound other than the quiet click of his claws on stone. Time distorted each second drawing out for eternity, each step a lifetime, while at the same time it seemed only moments had passed since he left the entrance.
All at once the savage sound of two creatures locked in combat rebounded through the tunnel. Rathe froze in his steps, listening as the unseen beasts tore at each other. His breath froze when he recognized words among the roars ..."the only"..."abomination" and others too muddled to understand, yet clearly speech.
Silence abruptly claimed the tunnels again, and for a moment the darkness seemed to deepen. Rathe remained still, barely daring to breathe, for a long moment. Waiting for the victor to spring forward and rip him to shreds. But death did not come springing from the black to claim him. Finally, Rathe eased his way forward once more. He rounded a near corner to discover the glow of daylight illuminating an archway leading into a large cavern.
As he edged closer, Rathe could see a large hole in the ceiling that spilled the sunlight across the cavern below, flecks of ash dusting the beam. Two large forms lay on the bloody floor below. His blood chilled as he recognized the mangled bodies.
A Grakil Chae lay nearest, its grey flesh shredded, its two thick legs splayed at odd angles. The noble warrior's long tail trailed away behind it, clawed fist at the end stained with the blood of his enemy. His bulky head and thick neck lay twisted at an impossible angle. Two ugly gashes rent the back of the neck.
Beyond the Grakil Chae lay a beast right out of Rathe's nightmares, a Jerkrenak. Many a nights as a hatchling he had woken screaming as the vicious creatures hunted him down. Blood enemies of the Grakil, no Jerkrenak had been seen this deep within the empire in years. But there was no doubting that is what this creature was. Its narrow snout sported a long horn, and above the crushed lower jaw, Rathe could see one of the beast's killer fangs. Short, thick spines covered its body from the shoulders to the tip of its tail from which sprouted four rear-arching spikes.
Rathe slipped into the chamber, a morbid curiosity drawing him closer to the carnage. He stooped over the corpse of the Grakil. Even in death he could sense the sheer power the warrior wielded in life. The sheer number of grievous wounds that the body bore was testament to his endurance.
A black protrusion from one of the gashes on the neck drew Rathe's gaze. He grasped the object and pulled it free. A foot long fang glistened wetly in his hand.
"Be careful how yi hanle that, boy."
Rathe jumped back, instantly regretting it as pain flaired through his side. The harsh and muffled voice spoke with a strange, slurred accent. His eyes locked on the Jerkrenak, now propped up on a foreleg, looking at Rathe.
"What’s the matter yi never hird someone talkin afore?"
"You’re dead!" Rathe said, cursing himself internally for letting his guard down.
"Oy we’ve git irselves a smart one here." A fit of coughing wracked the Jerkrenak's body.
The light shifted slightly and Rathe saw the extent of the Jerkrenak's wounds. A horrible blow had crushed the entire left side of the creature's face, skin ripped away showing bone, an eye missing from its socket. That the beast was alive, let alone able to form words seemed impossible to Rathe.
He looked back at the ravaged corpse of the Grakil and noted the bloody trails in the ash-strewn floor that marked the course of the battle. "Jerkrenak." The name twisted on Rathe's tongue. "You are aptly named."
"Jerkrenak is what I am, 'tis not mi name." Eyes filled with endless pain fixed on Rathe's. "Yea I am a Beast of Slaughter, though not in the way that yir thinking. Call mi Durston, as that is the name I’m known by."
"You murdered this Grakil, a loyal warrior of the Empire!"
"Loyal! Hah, thir jist usin' thi 'mpire to fulfill thir own ends."
Rathe roared in anger. "The Empire gives life to those who serve it, the Grakil know this. They have served since the first Melgor's ascension. They're loyalty is beyond reproach."”
"Ah the stubbornness of youth. So certain that you know evertyhing." Durstin's head dropped to his foreleg and his voice softened, "Listen to mi hatchlin', I was old when the Saurn first looked to the stars, I saw the Dread fill their hearts and lived through the Chaos. I’ve seen the rise and fall of more Melgor than you know lived, and have fought the Grakil since before I can remember.
"There is more to this world than you know or can see. The path that your precious Melgor walks will lead this world to great peril..."
Rathe snarled. "You speak words of poison Durstin..."
"Yea, poison!" Durstin snarled in return. "Poison not meant for yi but the shroud that covers yir soul and entangles yir feet. My journey is near over, as it is will all my kind, the coming storm will sweep us aside for our pilgrimage is complete and our destination at hand. But yir's is just beginnin', make sure yi know who yer guide is, there is only one true guide for this pilgrimage, and only one path."
"Your words are lost on me, beast." Rathe grinned at the dying Jerkrenak. "You intend to confuse me and sway me into betrayal of my people. I have heard the tales of your kind, speaking with a sweet tongue, luring the simple minded and weak willed into snares and turning them against their own. I have seen them myself, wallowing in their own self-pity in the Skereta mines, their wasting beliefs eating them faster than even the poison in their veins can. Your guide is doing precious little to light their paths."
Anger burned in the Jerkrenak's eyes and Rathe flinched back, certain the beast was about to lunge...
Read "Riter's Bloc," the blog by the author of this post.
It really is great to see people enjoying the world I've created. I hope that you'll all get to see the whole picture one day.
Links to this post:
Bailey Truitt ~ Java Joint owner
Leslie Brymes ~ reporter extraordinaire
Carla Radling ~ realtor at your service
Wilbur Hucks ~ ya gotta love him
Jake Tremaine ~ retired logger
Ted Dawson (S-Man) ~ sci-fi writer
Hank Detcher ~ pastor and friend
Janet Detcher ~ keeps Hank in line
Bev Trexel ~ retired teacher
Angie Brendt ~ Bev's best pal
Sarah Wray ~ Simple Pleasures owner
Jared Moore ~ Kanner Lake Times
LEARN MORE ABOUT KANNER LAKE
A Christian Worldview of Fiction
Mary Ann Diorio
Girl's Write Out
Joy in the Litter Box
A Life in Pages
Pieces of Me
Readin N Writin with Patricia
Robin Lee Hatcher's Write Thinking
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