martes, 24 de septiembre de 2013

SDIV El Juego Chapter Thirty Part Three

Shanna was old, malevolent and sure in her own immortality. Centuries passed her quietly by as she schemed, moving towards her ultimate goal of godhood. From the humble an crowded beginnings of her birthing pool, she killed, maimed and eaten her way to the top. These Taartuns were but another example of an inferior and gullible race to be used up an thrown away. It irked that this insufferable dwarf stood in her way to greatness, with all the hallmarks of fulfilling a prophecy that she herself had invented. It never once entered her mind that she had also been used by one greater than herself and it was with this self-serving arrogance that she faced Cornelius.

He was enjoying himself. The release from pretence and the imminent possibility of really damaging the Old Hag buoyed him. Not since his little jaunt in the Forked Tongue on Luther, so long ago, had he truly enjoyed himself so much and the prospect for mayhem in front of him bode well for a delightful afternoon. Cornelius forgot about his mission, the raging demon ripping itself clear of the Tower and the imminent destruction of this world. Shanna was his and he would take payment for all his hurt and frustration from her scaly green hide. He actually laughed as he let go of the left handle and whipped the wire forward, aiming for the hand holding the staff. At the last minute he stopped, causing the wire to shudder and loop sideways, scoring a burning red line across Shanna’s flesh where it touched in passing. His power anchored him in place as he flicked the weapon backwards, grinning at Shanna’s screams and curses. 

Shanna tried to raise her staff and concentrate on her enemy, but it burned. Each little touch of the wire sent pain shooting throughout her body and she took her first step back. Cornelius followed, dancing in mid-air, the wire twirling round his body glaring white-hot as power shimmered of it in waves. Shanna stepped further away, her gaze fixed wholly on the maddening figure, her breath hissing in and out. Behind her rock cracked and tore, but she ignored it.

Something blurred past her vision and for a moment she thought Cornelius had again struck, but his answering grunt robbed her of that misconception. Glancing up, Shanna saw a large rock cleaved in half by the spinning wire and now looked behind her. A huge hand ripped at the earth, flinging rock pieces haphazardly into the air. A chance missile had distracted Cornelius. She took her opportunity and ran.

“Where do you think you are going?” drawled a lazy voice, in her mind. She recognized Viker’s tones but could not see him. Her flight from that battle had brought her here first, she could not let him receive her reward. Spinning she looked for her enemies, but only saw a hysterical Cornelius waltzing in her direction. Shanna ducked beneath a large clawed hand and grunted in resignation. The battle would have to be fought here. She struck her staff into the rent earth and harsh syllables poured from her misshapen mouth.


It was hungry…and there was so much food nearby. The earth itself revolted against the creature grasping at its enormous ankles, clawing at its mighty wings and ignoring its imperious demands. Fold Space called yet it was bound to this earthly plane, limited by an almost tantalising near-existence. Puny power raged around it but it needed meat.

Stopping for a moment it raised a huge face upwards and gulped in a gigantic breath. The taste of an approaching enemy stung it, the subtle flavours of Fold Space told the creature that soon it would face another of its kind and it must feed. A hint of old memory surfaced and it ceased struggling, plunging its freed hand deep into the earth. Old flesh was not the same yet it would do. It crammed the remains of Shan’s minions into its maw, ignoring the flesh-rotting disease that infected them and flexed its wings…

jueves, 12 de septiembre de 2013

SDIV - El Juego Chapter Thirty Part Two

Cornelius was at a full run, yet horses and men began to overtake him,. That would not do. He gathered his energy within, his tatoos writhing in response and started to release his power...

"No you will not, Sirrah," boomed a deep voice, and Cornelius felt himself lifted up by the back of his robe.

The earth sped by, his feet windmilling with little dignity as he was hauled up onto the back of the warhorse, Sir Frederic dumped him unceremoniusly down and sped back up. Butt wanted to say something, but fought instead to control the energy coursing through him. It was a close thing.

"There are enough demons for my men to focus on," said Sir Frederic pompously, "without you distracting them."

"Don't be so anal," mumbled Cornelius, setting fire to a nearby bush, "there'll be more than enough to keep them busy in just a short while..."

He ignored the Knight and concentrated on the Tower. One wing was now free and stretched out across the plain. The other was still stuck within the crumbling rock, but would not stay that way for long. A gout of green flame arced skwards, followed by a titanic roar as the creature turned to survey the ants racing towards it. This would not be pretty.

"Put me down," said Cornelius quietly, yet the Knight ignored him.

With an agility ill-becoming his reputation, Cornelius sprang to his feet, balancing on the shoulders of the animal galloping towards its own death. There was a muffled grunt as he leapt upwards, somersaulting away from Sir Frederic as he tried to pull up sharply. Now was not the time for chastisement and Cornelius called again on the energy bubbling below the surface. It gleefully responded and he rose high in the air as he stretched out his hands.

"Explain this to your narrow-minded followers" he laughed as he hurtled forwards.

Sir Frederic watched his friend race towards the Tower, and for once ignored the cries of herecy around him. The idiot was going to take on the monster by himself...and that just would not do.

Flames boiled from Cornelius' hands as he closed upon the structure, melting rock and causing his enemy to scream in frustration. He circled the creature twice, narrowly avoiding a sweep of its gigantic wing and snapping fangs before he was satisfied.

"Take on the Chosen One, would you?" he sneered, alighting gently on the rock-strewn ground before the Tower, "well it's time to reap your ultimate reward."

Once again gathered  his power, his clothes smoking with the energy called upon. Cornelis smiled at the thought of what Kam would say if they burned away revealing him in all his glory, yet he gritted his teeth and continued. He was ready...

"No-o-o," hissed a voice beside him, and Cornelius was flung sideways as what felt like a metal bar slammed into his side, Shanna announcing her presence with the act.

"Think that you will thwart me now, worm?" she screamed strangely, garbling the words as her tongue darted in and out of her now prominent snout.

"You really shouldn't have done that," said Cornelius calmly, as he rose to his feet, "It's not lady-like..." and then he grinned evilly.

Shanna watched as he pulled a rusty length of wire from his belt, taking hold of what appeared to be wooden handles at each end.

"And what," she laughed derisively, "do you think you are going to achieve with that?"

"Bliss..." replied Cornelius as he sprang, whipping one handle free and filling the weapon with power.

martes, 20 de agosto de 2013

SDIV El Juego Chapter Thirty Part One

Chapter Thirty

The Tower
Cemetary Plain
Zone III

The roar of engines wrenched Shan’s attention away from the enthralling sight of his erstwhile Master’s imminent demise. The various Shuttles and Attack Boats descended rapidly, disgorging the check-suited humans and he watched intently as an old woman descended from an open ramp, her young aide holding her upright. The aide was beautiful and Shan felt the stirrings of his perverted lust as he gazed upon her. There was something about the old woman though, something that he should remember…

A venomous green light speared from the old woman’s hand, searing his rotten flesh and driving him to his knees. Raw energy melted into him, boiling what was left of his blood in indescribable agony.

“Now, do you remember…?”

A voice filled with hate and spite ripped and tore at his mind, and he suddenly knew who she was, and despite his overwhelming pain he still had time for fear.


“Enough, worm,” spat Shanna as she threw aside Clari’s unnecessary support, “you were always weak.”

She raised her staff on high, all pretence of weakness disappearing. Clari recoiled in horror as the Witch Woman began to transform, her wrinkled body filling and lengthening. Scales were visible, and her snout emerged with a forked tongue flicking free to taste the air.

“S-s-s-cum-m-m-m,” she hissed and thrust the staff forward, its tip glowing red with heat.

“I think not,” said a cheerful voice, and Clari looked on a beautiful winged God, glowing with purity and light, “this one is mine now.”

Shanna changed her attention to Viker as he dropped in front of the steaming husk of his minon. He was not alone, as other winged monsters surrounded him. As the beam struck, Clari’s vision cleared and she saw Viker for who he truly was and she screamed at the broken wings and blood-smeared face.

Viker flicked a last palm and the beam sped away, striking a group of his followers and incinerating them where they stood.

“Not so ea-s-s-y? Lo-s-s-t your power?” cackled the evil old woman.

“Now…Ngulu,” whispered Viker as he sank to his knees.

Powerful arms wrapped around the witch and began to squeeze, and this apparition was the final straw which drove Clari screaming towards the nearby heights. She did not stop running until she reached the lines of Taartuns who watched in horror as the battle unfolded below them, where she collapsed in front of the diminutive Chosen One.

Her humiliation was complete, as he ignored her and the crackles of released energy as Shanna fought back. Instead he stared at the broken-topped Tower, grim-faced and implacable.

There was an almighty cracking sound and the top third of the Tower spilt way, crashing to the ground in a mix of dust and rubble. Clari felt the deep booming tone of a bell deep within her chest and opened her mouth to ask and question but Cornelius Butt had gone, racing as fast as his legs could carry him down towards the plain below. With a roar the others drew their weapons and followed, an armoured Knight in the lead, leaving  a bewildered Clari and her loyal retainers beside the craft she had sent to capture the horrible little man.

“The Chosen One is he?” sneered Clari rising to her feet with what little dignity she could muster. “It didn’t take him long to run away…”

She squeaked as strong arms gripped her shoulders and turned her forcibly to watch Cornelius and his men.

“They go to their deaths, you stupid girl,” growled a voice she recognised, as Warchief MacEdoon at last let her go and she saw a great pair of wings pushing forth from the ruins of the Tower. Dark smoke boiled upwards as whatever was inside tried to burst free.

“And you?” she sneered, “What does a mighty Warchief like you do?”

A weathered face grinned back at her as MacEdoon dragged his sword free of its scabbard, “Why follow of course…”

sábado, 10 de agosto de 2013

SDIV El Juego Chapter 29 Part 3

Kam’s level of excitement rose in conjunction with the lowering of the shuttle’s ramp and at one point Cornelius had to physically restrain him from rushing forward to welcome his brothers. The turret mounted auto-cannons which swivelled to cover him and the onrushing Sir Frederic and his men gave him pause for thought.

“Wait!” he growled as the ramp came to a halt and a group of Taartun warriors rushed out to secure the area.

Deliberately, Cornelius turned his back on the newcomers and raised his arms to try and slow down the enthusiastic Knight. With a spray of dirt and stone Sir Frederic appeared, narrowly missing the still hopping Kam as he hauled his mount to a halt.

“Well met, Cornelius,” said Frederic politely, as he raised his visor, “how are you feeling?”

Cornelius grinned as he saw the muzzle of Burns’ rifle trained on him, “Just fine Freddy, although Kam here seems to have been struck down with a severe case of Restless Legs Syndrome.”

“He’s back,” grumbled Burns sliding gratefully from his own mount, “snide little shit.”

“Love you too,” replied Cornelius blowing the soldier a kiss, “but enough of frivolities, it seems as though the never-ending threat of war has finally arrived and in numbers.”

Burns jerked his head towards the nervous-looking Taartuns, “Friends of yours?”

“Not sure,” mused Cornelius, “they might be…”

“And the Demons?” asked Sir Frederic, cautiously insistent in his doubts.

“Definitely not,” said Cornelius, “as well as those others. They seem rather unfriendly to me.”

“They burned and destroyed my village,” snarled the Knight.

“Well not our friends then,” said Cornelius quietly, anger tinging his words, “and we’ll just have to make sure that we do something about that.”

“First things first, though,” he said as he rubbed his hands together, “we need to ascertain if these Taartuns mean harm or just wish to worship the ground I walk on.”

“You’re not going to do…magic, are you,” asked Sir Frederic in a stage whisper.

“Not unless they start first,” replied Cornelius as he turned and made his way forward, “or at least until they piss me off.”

Burns shook his head and trailed behind the diminutive figure, “Told you he was back,” he muttered as he checked the magazine on his rifle, “and things can only get worse from here.”

miércoles, 7 de agosto de 2013

SDIV El Juego Chapter 29 Part 2

The Tower
Cemetary Plain
Zone III

Kam pointed towards the sky and the contrails of descending craft.

“What’s that?” he asked.

“Expected visitors,” commented Cornelius, squinting as he tried to concentrate on the roiling mass of battle below him, “you know, Kam, I don’t think that everyone will be happy with the new arrivals.”

“Are we happy?” queried Kam, doubt tinging his voice.

“Oh, we’re always happy, Kam,” replied Cornelius, “life is full of surprises for those who welcome them.”

“But who are these new people?” Kam sounded troubled, as though it was beyond him how this could be good news.

“Taartuns,” replied Cornelius, sitting back down and stretching out his legs.

“Our people then,” said Kam, “good, we could do with some help.”

“Hmm,” agreed Cornelius absently, “although I am not so sure how much of our people there are amongst them.”

“The Taartuns are our people,” insisted Kam.

“Allegedly,” said Cornelius, smiling as he felt the ground beneath him begin to tremble, “but as usual, they aren’t the only ones rushing to join the party.”

Kam turned as he too felt the approaching thunder. Behind him, the sun glinted off metal and a murmur of noise reached his ears.

“That was quick,” he commented, “they must have landed further away and are hurrying to join us.”

“Oh,” said Cornelius, “those aren’t the Taartuns, but I would at least classify them as friends.”

“What?” queried Kam, now even more confused.

“Sir Frederic approaches,” said Cornelius, “and it seems as though he has found some friends.”


“There,” called Sir Frederic, above the noise of drumming hooves, “I can see Cornelius.”

“Yeah,” grunted Burns, clinging on for dear life, “and it seems as though Kam stayed with him. That must be a good sign.”

Sir Frederic signalled his troops to aim for the two small figures and they wheeled to obey him. He was happy with the disciplined force which had joined him. His cousin had protested, as usual, but Sir Frederic’s call for volunteers had been readily answered.  Their reaction to Cornelius would need managing, but the greater threat of the demons and their followers would concentrate them on their true mission. The evidence of the village’s destruction and the atrocities committed there left little for dispute as to who they should be fighting. Now, if only Cornelius could restrain himself from displays of magic, they just might stand a chance.

“Watch out!” shouted Burns, as the first of the descending craft roared overhead, startling some of the mounts.

Even though he knew they were not about to attack, Sir Frederic ducked as the snub-winged craft rocketed overhead. Bolts of energy flew upwards from beyond the ridge and answering auto-cannons began to fire. He spurred his recalcitrant mount onwards, the quicker they joined the fight, the less time his men had to contemplate demons and magic.

“Sir Frederic!”

Burns shout and pointing finger drew his attention to the two lone figures and the craft which began to descend directly over them.

“To Battle!” he roared, his men following readily behind. He just hoped they would arrive in time.

jueves, 18 de julio de 2013

SDIV El Juego Chapter 29 Part 1

Chapter Twenty-Nine

The Broken Blade
Taartun Flagship
Unknown Location

“Are you sure this is the place, old woman?” asked Clari in disbelief.

The planet below them appeared little different from others they had visited, searching for the annoying little man. Shanna grinned a gap-toothed smile at her supposed relative and nodded, as she felt the thrill of power extinguished on their arrival. It was not Cornelius but something less pure, if Cornelius could ever have been called such a thing. There was a dirty feel to the transmitted energy which drew her like a moth to a flame, it seemed as though the dwarf had succeeded in his catalytic assignment.

“Ships detected,” shouted their Captain, as they closed range, “ with energy releases on the surface!”

“Now do you doubt me?” sneered Shanna as she hobbled towards the holo-screen by the Captain’s chair.

Clari reeled back as though she had been struck. It was not so much the words, nor the inherent disdain. No, it was the pulsing throat muscles and the nictitious membrane which reminded her that this Witch Woman was someone to respect.

“Will the Prophecy be fulfilled?” Clari asked humbly.

“Oh, that it will,” replied Shanna gleefully, and then in a voice only she could hear, “but which one my pretty? That is the real question.”

Clari shivered as Shanna’s evil cackle rang across the bridge.

“”Launch the boats,” snarled Shanna, all signs of age disappearing from her voice, “we have a world to win and destiny before us!”

The cheering of her Clansmen followed Clari as she left the Bridge. Quickly she found her men.

“Take our people on one of the boats. Make sure you find the thrice-damned Chosen One and bring him to me.”

They saluted and left at a run. Clari’s volatility was well known and no-one wanted to cross her. The only doubt was why she wanted to be the one to find the Chosen One and what she wanted with him. It was in neither of their places to ask or even know the answer to such a question. The Chosen One would know, and that was sure in their minds. Tradition and legend said it was so. The fact that neither they, or the rest of Clari’s people, had ever set eyes on Cornelius Butt before probably went a long way to explaining their blind faith. Reality would have a surprise from them before the day was over.

martes, 16 de julio de 2013

SDIV El Juego Chapter 28 Part 3

Ngulu the Broken revelled in despair and destruction, yet there were reasons to worry in the way that his demons failed to break through the strange winged and mutated forces they faced. No easy victory was in sight and the recent arrival of the small force from the Tower bolstered the beleaguered forces he faced. Something had changed.

Writhing forms on the battlefield drew his attention. Of the two obvious leaders, one stayed well back drawing a number of the winged soldiers back into a protective cordon. The other marched forward, stopping to examine and touch the mutilated corpses on the field, including those demons unlucky enough to fall in battle. What was he doing?

The figure was closer now; a strange mist trailed behind him and, as the wind direction changed, the stench of rotting corpses and putrefying flesh became stronger. Ngulu watched as the man stopped, waiting for what the demon knew not, and his anger at the figure’s effrontery drove him forward, smashing aside his minions. It was then he noticed that he could no longer see the man as corpses reanimated, interposing themselves between their new master and the rampaging demons.

Shan loved the powers he had been granted; an army was never far behind when his touch could create new life. He giggled at the thought; life was a rather poor way to describe the things following him. Even the residual power of the demons was not immune to his unhealthy touch and perhaps, just perhaps, these new troops of his could turn the table even on Viker.

“Such an obvious minion…” crooned Viker’s voice in his head and Shan screamed in pain as raw power blasted into him. Through his tears he saw Viker rise above the battlefield, black wings spread wide and lambent power radiating out from his eyes.

“You are but a vessel,” he continued conversationally, “and that is something you should never forget. Cease your tending of the wounded, I wish to speak with the demon’s leader.”

Shan could do little but obey, as pain wrenched his muscles once more into uncontrollable spasms. Even his creatures reacted, moaning and squealing in his transmitted agony.

Viker passed him by, floating to a gentle halt into the winged master of the demon hoard. Anger rippled out from the frothing monster as it still thrust others aside in its anxiety to reach him.

“Oh, dear,” he laughed, “such eagerness should be rewarded…”

His arms raised high, he began to gather in his power, reaching out to touch the very essence of Fold Space in his greed. Ngulu stopped, mouth open in awe as the figure before him began to glow. His weapon tip dropped to the floor, partially forgotten as his better readied himself for to dispense his own form of justice.

At what seemed the last moment, the brilliance of Viker’s power faded, releasing Ngulu who raised his stolen sword in a roar of rage and leaped forward, intent only on the destruction of the timorous individual before him. He too felt the fabric of space rip, yet his anger was far too strong to worry about details. Ngulu the Broken would kill; the consequences of his actions he would deal with later.

viernes, 12 de julio de 2013

SD IV El Juego Chapter 28 Part 2

“What do you think they are up to?” asked Kam, as a group of men raced from the Tower, waving arms and wings urgently.

“I think that they are finally realising that what smells like honey, isn’t always necessarily honey…” answered Cornelius, squinting skyward.

“I never understand,” complained Kam, scuffing his boot toe in the earth.

Cornelius reached across and punched him gently in the arm. Kam looked up and smiled at his strange friend.

“What I mean,” said Cornelius, sighing theatrically, “is that the Tower may well not be the prize they think it is.”

He raised his hand to stop Kam interrupting and continued.

“It occurs to me that it is just as possible that the Tower was built to keep something in, rather than someone out,” he mused, “and that we were sent here to change that particular situation.”

Cornelius remembered Shanna and the torn parchment. He never did get to read the second part of the prophecy that had so conveniently been misplaced. The wrinkled crone hid many secrets, including that of her origin. The disturbing transformation witnessed in the first-class cabin of the Prelate’s Light was something else unexplained. Butt wondered how he managed to forget all these things and yet selectively remember others. A series of suspicions began to crawl into his fertile imagination and his sense of unease increase.

“You look worried?”

Kam’s statements were always like questions, trying for approval whilst expecting a blow.

“I am.” said Cornelius, staring again at the relatively cloud-free sky, “Something is coming, something bad and I don’t know what.”

The Clansman waved over toward the still battling forces on the plain before them, “whoever wins will no doubt remember about us in their own time.”

“Not them,” said Butt, shaking his head in negation, “someone else. I can feel it.”

“What about the Tower?” asked Kam, trying to lighten the mood.

“That, my friend,” replied Butt, “is why they are coming and the whole reason we are still sat here enjoying the view.”

Instead of being worried, Kam was smiling. Cornelius had called him a friend, and that was worth celebrating. Kam never had any friends, and even strange friends were welcome. Whatever happened he would stick with his friend, that was something were fighting for.

Cornelius stared for a moment at the grinning idiot beside him and then turned to face the Tower once more. The secret was in there, yet he was not yet ready to find out the answer. He knew deep down who was coming, he just had to figure out the why.

martes, 9 de julio de 2013

SDIV El Juego Chapter 28 Part 1

Chapter Twenty-Eight
The Tower
Cemetary Plain
Zone III

Light filtered down from above in thin streams where cracked roofs and uneven joints gave egress through the first two floors. Deeper, only darkness ruled. Shan used a glow globe to follow Viker down the uneven stairs to the ground floor, where dust puffed up mirroring their movements.

“Nothing,” coughed Viker, “there is absolutely nothing.”

Shan could have told him that, if only Viker had bothered to ask. Even with his own short-term stay on this planet, the Tower had been an obvious point to search. Granted, and for some strange reason, association with the similar structure on Diadem never entered his mind, so that his search had been desultory with zero expectation of reward. Now that he recognised the similarities there was a residual disappointment.

“What now, my Lord?” queried Shan, more than slightly refreshed with his visit to the village and sacrificial rites.

“We wait for the dwarf’s arrival, teach him a lesson and then be on our way,” said Viker.

“Do we have an urgent appointment anywhere in particular?” asked Shan, truly believing that his affected air came across as nonchalance.

“I certainly do,” confirmed Viker, “I still remain to be convinced that you do too…”

The comment startled Shan. What did Viker know? The rites were specifically designed to please his old Master, not this new one, and his followers were loyal to the last. He had after all created them himself.

Viker grinned, “Your show in the village was entertaining, although a little overdone even for my liberal tastes. I decided to allow you a little rope with which to hang yourself and am interested to see what you will do next.”

“But the power…” protested Shan, giving up any pretence of innocence.

“I gave you a little of my own,” said Viker, peering at the shabby murals decorating one of the walls, “it seemed a good thing to do at the time. Enough!”

Shan stumbled backwards as a bolt of pure energy lanced out from Viker’s open hand and struck the wall, punching a hole clear through the brick. Light streamed in showing the mural in more detail.

“That’s better,” mumbled Viker, bending to look closely at the various pictures.

“Similar,” he said, “but not the same.”

The drawing he indicated showed a winged figure kneeling before something or someone. It was hard to make out what, as the picture had been disfigured deliberately, but to one side had been scratched a half-moon shape with three separate and unknown runes.

“Kneeling to, or bending down?” queried Shan.

“What?” Viker’s voice was raised in anger and Shan gulped in expectation of a blow, “Explain…”

“I was thinking aloud,” shrugged Shan, realising he really had nothing to lose, “it could be either. The presence of our dwarf friend must have put the thought in my mind.”

Viker stared hard at the picture again, his lips moving as he appeared to read the runes.

“Out!” he screamed, racing for the stairs.

Shan followed, terrified by his Master’s reaction. What had he seen?

viernes, 21 de junio de 2013

SDIV El Juego Chapter 27 Pt 3

The smell was almost bearable, almost. Lllorente gave in and vomited what little he had in his stomach over the nearest pile of corpses still awaiting burial. Sir Frederic’s insistence on doing the right thing carried its own burdens, and a little extra would make no distance. Trying not to take too deep a breath, he continued to dig.

“Hold, knave!”

The voice sounded like Sir Frederic’s. but the Knight was over the far side of the village carrying out his own burial detail.

“I said hold!”

Llorente turned and the familiar sight of mounted warriors met his eyes. This was in some way déjà vu with respect to his last visit to the area. At least he did not look like a magician as his rifle was out of sight, but obviously once again these people had jumped to conclusions. Enough was enough!

“Who the fuck are you calling knave?” he spat, straightening up and gripping the spade in his hands more tightly.

“You,” sneered the horseman, drawing his sword, “and I intend to teach you a lesson…”

“What would that be,” asked Llorente with a smirk, having noticed Burns rifle poking from the nearest cabin, “how to behave as an educated gentleman?”

“Why you…” the horseman rose up in his stirrups, fully intending to strike the obnoxious Llorente down where he stood.

“Hold!” a louder voice roared and Sir Frederic appeared, trailed by a number of other mounted and lightly armoured men and boys.

“Who are you to tell me…” began the irascible horseman. He never finished his sentence as the spade slammed into him at full swing, knocking him from his mount to sprawl amidst the pile of bodies.

“Llorente!” roared Sir Frederic.

“Sorry,” mumbled Llorente, trying ineffectually to hide his pleased grin, “but the prick was being disrespectful.”

Sir Frederic also tried manfully to retain his dignity, but a rueful chuckle escaped before he could control it.

“My cousin has always been a bit of a prick,” he agreed quietly with Llorente, before turning to face the new arrivals he had brought with him.

“You want me to hit him again?” asked Llorente, eying the moaning cousin where he lay.

“Only if he deserves it…” began Sir Frederic, and then as Llorente eagerly raised the spade he finished, “…again.”

The solid thud of the spade against armour gave him his reply.

jueves, 4 de abril de 2013

SDIV EL Juego Chapter 27 Part 2

Emerald Forest
Zone I

Sir Frederic led Burns and Llorente towards his home village. It was so much easier now with the portals collapsed; following a monster had led him into danger and the company of new friends and even stranger allies. What his father and the rest of his brother Knights would have to say about this was hard to predict, yet from Llorente’s comments Sir Frederic’s people had already been exposed to Mammon and his depravations, so they should be open to stories of demons walking the land.

Rain hammered down onto the forest canopy, soaking them intermittently as the thick leaves of the tree tops created crazy pathways for the water. It did not seem to be able to dampen Sir Frederic’s enthusiasm and he chattered away describing what they should expect to see.

Sir Frederic told them that forest opened out into a wide pasture in which a road snaked down towards the river and his father’s lands. Their family’s fortified mansion stood guard over a bridge, with travellers needing to pass through the mansion’s walls and archway in order to gain access to the village beyond. The walls continued around the village outskirts and were manned by regular patrols which safeguarded the dwellings within. It had always been enough to dissuade bandits or the occasional marauding monster.

“Once over this dip,” he commented to Burns, “we should clear the forest fully and you will have your first glimpse of safety, a warm bed and a hearty meal. Not, of course, necessarily in that order.”

Burns grinned at the excited Knight; once in familiar territory he shed the perpetual air of worry and became a more congenial companion. They could use a rest from the Taurans, Demons, Ambryn and whatever other nasties they had yet to meet. It would be the first time in a long time. He shrugged off the thought of Llorente’s comments about the land and its people and concentrated solely on the meal and warm bed. It was then he noticed the change in Sir Frederic.

The Knight had moved slightly ahead of them and was the first to crest the rise. It was not the most welcoming of sights nor did it fight exactly the description he had given them of his lands. The bridge still stood, yet the archway was shattered and the village walls breached in numerous positions. Burns’ trained eye recognised plasma blasts even from this distance. This had not just happened, although the changing wind brought the smell of burnt wood telling him that it was recent.

“Wait,” ordered Burns unslinging his rifle and stopping Sir Frederic’s threatened mad charge, “we do not know who is still around.”

Sir Frederic nodded, unslinging the auto-rifle he now carried, instead of his sword. He would wait, but not for long.

Burns pulled them back to cover and knelt, bringing the scope of his rifle to his eyes. He changed his position until he could get a good view of the village center, the breached walls making his efforts easier. The weapon’s magnification was more than enough to show him what had happened to the village and tell him who the recent visitors had been. Two large wheels supported on a robust and out of place metal structure took centre stage. Fastened to these wheels were the remains of two villagers with a haphazard pile of bodies below testament to the fact that these were only the last of a large number of sacrifices. Zooming in on the suspended corpses he saw bloody symbols cut into their naked chests and knew that the Taurans were the culprits.

“I am not sure whether you will want to see this,” he whispered to Sir Frederic who had joined him, and nodded towards the village, “it certainly is not the recommended way to remember them.”

“Yet I must go down,” said Sir Frederic, “even if it is only to give them a decent burial.”

The Knight stood, shouldering his rifle and now drawing his sword, “If I am really lucky, they may have left an ambush for me.”

Burns winced, yet rose to join his companion, Llorente in tow, “”Very well, but we’ll do this my way, no running off to die an honourable death. If it’s revenge you want, we know where we can find some Taurans, even if they are not the right ones.”

lunes, 1 de abril de 2013

SDIV El Juego Chapter 27 Part 1

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Cursed Hills
Zone IV

One by one Alana’s men fell. They gave their lives dearly, yet the outcome was inevitable; Viker’s Angels had regrouped, pulling all of their mutated followers in line and body by body, they were gaining the upper hand.

“Alana, it appears our guests decided to bring reinforcements.”

Shin’s message was unwelcome, but not unexpected. Viker meant to have his revenge and he would not shy from the death toll necessary to achieve his ends. She killed her latest opponent and used her jets to jump back, clearing her personal space for just a moment. On her HUD, the newcomers were more than apparent. It seemed as though Viker had used his power liberally, creating more of his winged followers who now he threw into the fray. Well, she had not expected to survive this encounter only to sell her life the most expensively that she could.

“Regroup,” she transmitted, “fall back on me…”

Winged shapes plummeted downwards into the rear of the Angels, claws tearing and rending, shocking Alana into silence.

“The demons,” Shin said on an open channel, “are they here to help?”

“That I think is unlikely,” replied Alana, at last seeing a potential chance of survival.

“Retreat!” she called urgently. “This is our opportunity.”

“But..” began Shin.

“Move it!” snarled Alana, blood lust was one thing, but stupidity another.

Discipline kicked in and the survivors, the pitiful few left from her original men and Johns’ people, disengaged. It was easier than expected as the Angels turned to meet this new attack, bestial ferocity against cunning and numbers. The few too slow to ascertain where the new threat came from gave Alana’s people something to assuage their unspent rage upon, but soon enough they were free and clear to reform upon her position.

Alana gasped in shock as she counted heads. She knew there must be more, but Shin confirmed her worst fears as he struggled up the hill towards her.

“I am the last,” he said matter-of-factly, “where do we go now?”

“Away from here,” said Alana, “somewhere to lick our wounds and plan our escape.”

“What about Viker?” asked the exhausted man, “When do we deal with him?”

Alana winced at the harsh tone in Shin’s voice. Was it condemnation of her own action in retreating? Or was it just exhaustion, grief and excess of adrenalin? She shrugged off her self-pity. There was little use for it now.

“There will be another day,” she promised, surprised at the certainty in her own voice, “we have not finished with him yet.”

Four armoured suits ignited their jet packs, hovering momentarily before shooting away towards the forest in the distance. Ngulu watched them, but chose to ignore their escape for now. Spilt blood drew him to the fight  below and this promised to give him and his brethren a feasting to remember. It seemed as though the world and order in itself had returned to its rightful place, with him as its leader.

martes, 26 de marzo de 2013

SDIV El Juego Chapter 26 Part 2

Unknown Location

The Tower’s destruction surprised Shan for just a moment, before he too remembered the pain of Diadem. Why had he not seen it? Perhaps the lack of the Guardian, the surrounding city or the creature’s young had confused him. He thought not. Now the spire was shorn away and the shape beneath revealed he shuddered. His Master sent him to Diadem to retrieve the artefact hidden there, he had failed spawning another enemy, one pure of heart and of clean lines and majestic beauty. His screen lit with an incoming message he could no more refuse than follow a clean and healthy lifestyle.

It was his new Lord, whose face he gazed upon for the first time. What a glorious shade of black were his eyes, the torn and bloodied feathers added just the right amount of menace and the stained wings were priceless…

Shan blinked and stared again at Viker. Was it possible? Had corruption gone its own pretty way, infecting the pure and blessed with such filthy depravity. His Master had been such an insinuous one, maybe Shan’s prayers had been answered after all.

“I know you,” said Viker, staring back at Shan from the screen, “we have met before.”

“Oh, that we have Lord,” said Shan depreciatingly, “but you were somewhat different then. We weren’t exactly on speaking terms and I had to leave rather quickly.”

Viker’s eyes widened and then he began to cackle, “Oh, this is rich. You who infected me, who helped to create me are now mine.”

Shan bit back the comment he wished to say and merely bowed his head.

“No, false modesty Shan,” said Viker, his laughter mutating into viciousness, “we know each other too well for that. Bring yourself and what remains of your rotting henchmen down to me on this planet. We have work to do.”

“Lord,” pleaded Shan, “if we do that they could take the ship.”
“Stop your pretence,” barked Viker, “he who you fear is now half the man he was and no threat to you or my ship.”

Shan recognised the command for what it was and the possession of his ship. It would be better he obey, for now.

“And Shan,” crooned Viker, “remember how well I know you. Any thoughts of desertion, treachery, coercion or murder will only be tolerated when done in my name. Are we clear?”

“Yes, my Lord,” replied Shan, now laughing himself, “however, you cannot expect me to promise you to avoid all idle speculation.”

Viker’s cold smile was burned onto Shan’s brain, long after the image faded from his screen. The familiarity was not just that of a similar place, nor of old acquaintances, the scent of failure hung heavy in the air. Not something he relished experiencing again.

“You,” he snapped at his nearest remaining follower, “bring me a Portal Key.”

There was no question as to why, just blind obedience. That was preferable to more sentient servants. He needed to make a sacrifice or two, commune with his Master to beg forgiveness and do so all in secret if he was to stand a chance of surviving this. And all of this before he joined Viker. One quick side trip was easily arranged and the rest he would just have to improvise.