domingo, 22 de abril de 2012

SDIV Chapter 15 Part 3

Cursed Hills
Zone IV

Blood dripped slowly onto the fire, hissing and sputtering. The flames hurt Grishak’s eyes, not just with their light, but the accompanying waves of heat which had instantly dried out any liquid and now burned slowly and painfully. Quickly he closed his eyelids, only serving to momentarily block the intense pain, not extinguish it.

They had suspended him upside down over the fire and one after the other they came, tossing more fuel onto the conflagration. His hands were tied behind his back, his arms forced together and looped over an iron rod. His legs had been treated similarly and he was slowly being roasted alive.

His vaunted, god-given powers of recovery were useless here. The arrow wounds had started to heal but the flesh on his bare chest had begun to crack and peel. Tribesman danced and cavorted around him, and as he was rotated slowly he heard the accompanying ribald laughter.

Now, the flames were touching his back and he started to scream, long and endlessly.

Cemetary Plain
Zone III

Cornelius was losing consciousness, the agony being replaced by a sweet blackness. Pain flared again, this time near his neck, and he realised that Clari had bitten him. He forgave her. What could she do against this thing? Hands relaxed and his knives clunked to the floor, the pressure on his head overwhelming.

Clari was not angry, nor was she frustrated. She knew what she had to do. Another slash of her jaw opened the wound on Cornelius’ neck wider, red blood pumping clear. With a twist, her tail was in her mouth and she ripped into her own flesh, her green life’s blood mingling with that of her Master. Her tail tightened against Cornelius’ neck, forcing an invasive contact.

It burned. Oh, how it burned. No longer was he in a safe place, a coruscating fire had torn him free. It raged through his system. He was dying, badly.

Cursed Hills
Zone IV

The barrier flickered, its energy loss visible as the Ambryn flung themselves against it. They had seen the Tauran pass through and hunger drove them on. He had stayed a moment to taunt them, although this did little to excite them. Their urge to feed was strong, as was the other driving force of their existence, procreation. One followed the other, causing individual Ambryn to turn on one another. Without warning, the barrier collapsed and they could smell not only the Tauran, but a multitude of other meat.

Hissing, snapping and snarling they slithered over the rocks, vying with each other in their haste. Self-preservation to them only came with the satisfaction of their primeval urges.

viernes, 20 de abril de 2012

SD IV Chapter 15 Part 2

Cursed Hills
Zone IV

Grishak was puzzled; he had seen no signs of life. Granted the ground was rocky, with little in the way of plant or animals, but he had expected to have crossed at least some type of trail by now.

He found himself in an area of numerous caves, their design evidencing that they were not purely a natural phenomenon. Still, he thought, as he bent down to drink from a swiftly rushing stream, laying his axe to one side but within easy reach, it was unusual.

An angry buzzing sound, made him reach for his weapon, as an arrow bounced off the rock in front of him. He whirled ready to face his attackers and was struck three times in quick succession. Once through his bicep, another through the meaty part of his shoulder and the third time into his left thigh.

Wounds which would not incapacitate him but irritate him for sure. There was a mixture of chanting, battle cries and plain screaming as a rag tag bunch of tribesmen charged his position. He grinned to himself and readied his axe, much opposition they would not be, but at least they would lift his spirits.


With a casual swing, Grishak decapitated the first of his attackers, ducking below an incoming stave, he drove his weapon upwards. Its sharpened blade tearing between the tribesman’s legs and only stopping when it ran out of momentum. He kicked the man off the axe, a mixture of blood and entrails stringing out from the falling body.

A sword slammed into his shoulder and he cursed, this was not as easy as he thought. It seemed as though these fools were intent on dying, their insane charge having been followed up by simultaneous attacks. He knew he was winning, but in his partially recovered state, he was weakening quickly.

Arms clasped him from behind and a huge tribesman rushed forward, his spear pulled backwards ready to strike. Leaning forward Grishak felt the man on his back unbalance and quickly he smashed his head back, being rewarded with a cry of pain. Breaking the hold on his arms, he grabbed his assailant and threw him directly onto the oncoming blade point. With a shout, he followed through with the axe, splitting the second man’s skull in two.

They were all around him, he was corralled like a wild animal with bared steel ringing him in. There was a whirring and the first arrow struck causing him to bellow in pain.

Rushing forward he lashed his axe from side to side, but his attackers melted away before him. Arrows flashed from behind, cutting into his limbs and he whirled once more, to be presented with the same scenario. Little by little his strength drained away, his wounds debilitating yet never fatal.

At last he fell to his knees, head swaying from side to side and with a concerted rush they came. Half standing he struck into them, two or three more fell before they pulled back. Then came more arrows and slowly he slumped to the floor, his vision blurring and finally he was overcome, a vast blackness overpowering him.

Cemetary Plain
Zone III

With a roar the creature stood to its full height, towering over the onrushing Knights. This did not stop them. One long arm reached out and plucked a Knight from his saddle, jaws closed and razor-sharp teeth sheared through armour. Cornelius saw the head spat aside, before the body was unceremoniously dumped on the floor, blood fountaining clear.

A lance shattered against iron-hard skin, splinters whistling past the monster’s head. One hoofed foot struck, cracking the horse’s ribs and caving in its chest. Its rider hit the ground hard, and did not move again. Butt was close now.

Sir Frederic screamed his war-cry once more, adjusting the angle of his lance at the last moment. The steel-tipped head cleaved through flesh and stuck hard, passing through one side of the thing’s jaw and out the other. It shook its head at the irritation, holding and snapping the weapon easily. The Knight drew his sword and whirled back to the attack.

Cornelius did not know what the thing was, but it still only had two arms and two legs. Granted they were huge, as were the muscles which rippled across its immense frame. The red-skinned monster had been bad, this was a nightmare. Someone had been drinking when they had created this; wolven-jawed, earless, with a lizard-like tail and hooven feet. Long strings of slaver fell from its partially opened maw, the remains of the lance blade fixing its features sadistically. He saw the Knight raise himself high in his stirrups and strike down, watched him fly backwards; his blow blocked and followed with a ringing slap. It was his turn now.

As the thing turned to kick out, Cornelius slid underneath it. Blades free, he scurried past, slicing at its taut hamstrings. With an audible twang they parted, causing it to drop to its knees. His plan was not as successful as he had expected though, as its tail helped it keep balance. A clawed hand closed about his head and began to squeeze.

lunes, 16 de abril de 2012

SD IV Chapter 15 Part 1

Chapter Fifteen

Cemetary Plain
Zone III

Butt stared at the tower in the distance, lost in thought. He did not believe in prescience, but the dream had foreseen this. All it needed now was the arrival of the winged creature and he would begin to change his mind. Instead the crack of pistol fire shocked him back to reality.

Kam had disappeared, the waving grass giving away his position, that and the angry roaring.


The sniper nodded; he had already seen the action and had dropped to one knee, rifle ready. There was a thudding sound, growing ever louder to their rear and Butt span, pistol ready. What he saw stopped him short, and that took some doing.

Barrelling down on them was a trio of heavily armoured knights; lances couched and pennants flying. They seemed not to have noticed the humans and were quickly past, aiming directly for Kam’s position. A horn sounded and Cornelius looked on in amazement as the lead Knight winded the instrument again.

“Don´t ask me,” muttered Burns, as he set off in pursuit.


For Sir Frederic D’Aix the chase was everything; they had followed the tracks of the beast for three days, crossing one of the magic portals in their pursuit of the monster. A village had been decimated, the remains of its inhabitants telling their own story. Sworn to defend the populace at large and with the love of battle singing in their blood, they had accepted the challenge.

He had noticed the two warriors, dismissing the strangely attired child and the soldier with his long stick as less than worthy of his attention, the Knight was now concentrated on the kill. It was close now.


Sir Frederic loved the charge; his horse and he as one, muscles in synchronisation as his vision narrowed to the target. The lance felt weightless in his hand as he prepared for the strike, knees gripping tightly against his mount, ready to transmit any minute adjustment necessary.

“Vandron!” he roared, and struck.


Kam was unaware of his rescuers, until he was bowled aside by one of the horses. He had been transfixed by the creature in front of him, unable to categorise it, apart from it being aggressive and deadly. His first two shots had bounced off its leathery skin, annoying it more than inflicting any lasting damage, and he was in the process of praying when the Knights joined the fray.

Thinking that he was hallucinating, but unwilling to look a gift horse in the mouth, literally, he turned and ran, crashing into Burns as he tried to make his escape. Cornelius raced past, his short legs pumping furiously.

“We´ll talk later,” he promised, as he continued on his way, Clari screaming her own retort.

Emerald Forest
Zone I

Harms peered around the thick trunk of the tree. Somehow they had gotten switched around here and once more, had found the Taurans, or at least their handiwork. The clearing in front of him showed the results of one of their typically brutal attacks. Men, women and even children had not been spared; rough, home-spun clothing was torn and rent, flesh burnt and bodies defiled. It must have happened recently, as evidenced by the still-rising trails of smoke from the camp fire and corpses equally.

They cautiously approached and could see that the fight had not been all one-sided, discarded rifles, an occasional Tauran soldier sprawled arms akimbo, all testified to some resistance. There was the jingling of horse tack, strange shouted commands and suddenly they found themselves surrounded. A body of Knights had appeared, their visors lowered making impossible to read their intent.

Harms was aware that in such a stand-off, their firepower would take a heavy toll, but eventually sheer numbers would win out. They were few and in a strange land. Friends would be an important tool of survival. He made his decision.

Carefully, the Sargeant lowered his rifle, holding his hand out in what he hoped was a peaceful gesture. Silence greeted him and he opened his mouth to speak. With a curt command, the lead Knight, whose rich apparel spoke loudly of his status, drew his sword. The other Knights followed his actions, kneeing their horses forward. This, thought Harms, is not looking good.

martes, 10 de abril de 2012

SDIV Chapter 14 Part 2

“Ah, Burns,” asked Kam, staring out across the main thoroughfare of the city, “isn’t that Cornelius running this way?”

“Yes, Sir,” muttered the sniper, taking careful aim, for a moment almost overcome by the temptation of firing.

“And, if I’m not mistaken, those things behind him are……?”

“Yes, sir,” replied Burns once more, ignoring all around him except the rapidly approaching figure looming large in his sights. One thing at a time, he thought ironically to himself.

“Okay. I’m not waiting any longer,” stated Kam calmly, as he checked his newly acquired pistol, “we need to follow Harms right now.”

He stepped through the portal, his eyes closed. When nothing pierced his flesh, he opened them, and jumped back through.

“Clear!” he shouted, and waved frantically at Cornelius, before rushing back into the portal, a grumbling Burns following.

As they stepped through, the world seemed to spin, turn upside down and then suddenly right itself once more. Burns fell to the floor in a daze, an overpowering stench causing him to gag.

Somehow Kam kept his feet, but only for a moment. He heard the crash of the Cornelius hitting the floor and slumped down next to him.

“Where the fuck have you been?” he asked, and then, “By the Egg, you stink!”

Cornelius spat to clear his mouth and then swore. Before them was a vast plain of rolling grass, a mosaic of patterns flowing through the vegetation in time with the occasional eddy of the wind. In the distance they could see the outline of a tower, an architecture all too familiar.


Grishak knew the Ambryn were close; he could hear their snarling cries and the buzzing of their stubby wings. He continued his run, the portal within his reach. Ahead he saw the back of the diminutive human, he who had speared him, passing through and increased his speed. That was a rematch he eagerly awaited.

With one last gigantic leap he cleared the barrier, his momentum propelling him forwards. A roar of triumph died on his lips as he crashed headlong into a rocky wall, the shock of contact stunning him. Warily he turned, axe in hand to await what he knew would be his final battle.


Harms had covered a wide area now, and there was absolutely no doubt; the portal was gone. He had with him the other four troopers, somewhere out there a significant band of Taurans, and he was in an unknown place, with the Prelate only knew what living there. He was screwed.

His decision, although he hated to admit it to himself, had been bad. The whiny little Taartun, Kam, had after all been right. Just about now, he could have done with the local and Burns at his side. Harms would even be satisfied with the annoying Cornelius to bolster his tiny force.

Calling his men together, he picked a line of travel opposite to the Taurans. They needed to find some civilisation and soon.


He had waited a long time, watching them throw themselves against the field, but they couldn’t get through. Grishak had tried a few ineffectual swipes of his axe against the barrier, but it had neither hurt them, nor the tenuous field.

Grunting to himself, he had finally turned his back on it, and made his way further into the interior.