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?