Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Berserker Part 1

The following is part of a novel I first started writing when I was 14. I quite liked it, though I ran out of steam about a quarter of the way through because I couldn't figure out a way to advance the storyline. Keep in mind it's got terrible punctuation and probably uses far too many passive sentances, but it's still quite enjoyable. Maybe someone will have an idea or make a suggestion that might help give me some idea where to take the story. Comments of any type are, as always, quite welcome. (Please bear in mind that if you've a mind to insult it or mefor no reason, I am chronically ill person with not much to lose. Flame at thine own risk)

“No!,” Jarn, screamed. Watching helplessly as the rest of the Flameheart clan’s warriors were cut down around him, slowly succumbing to the onslaught of the Bloodthorns. Alternately crying, hurling imprecations, and hacking blindly at enemies too numerous to count, he caught a glimpse of his father next to him. The man was at the front of a failed V shaped wedge in the middle of the single road which ran straight through the center of their small village. His hulking frame being pulled down by the seemingly endless goblin hordes. All the while, his father, the clan warleader, swung his gigantic broadsword, cleaving through droves of the dirty, green-skinned monsters.

Jarn, now the last of the Flameheart clan, was surrounded. He raised his war axes high, waiting for the first Bloodthorn to rush him, knowing that while goblins fought with an unheard of ferocity when in large numbers, none were courageous enough to make a sacrifice by starting the assault. Also hampering them were the numbers of slaughtered bodies on the ground, goblin and warrior alike. The Flameheart warriors had fought valiantly and had taken a fair number of the enemy to the grave with them, but there were too many of the damnable goblins for the once mighty tribe.

“Fight me!”, he screamed “Finish what you bastards started!”. The unexpected raid had come in the night. It was thought among the elders that the mountains which were home to the Bloodthorn goblins were at a relatively safe distance from the village. The goblins would have been desperate to brave the dangers of mountain and swamp that lay in their path.

Their clan’s sentries had been overtaken with no apparent signs of struggle or shout of warning, the women and children had been murdered in their beds. Their bodies, or what was left of them -the Bloodthorns had a nasty reputation for cannibalism, understandable given their gnashing and rotted teeth- were found strung up by the roofs of their homes. The men had found them in the morning, when they had returned from the celebration of inducting a new warrior into their fold.

If the warriors hadn’t been away, conducting my blooding rite, they all would’ve died too, Jarn thought. Well, sooner at any rate. I guess I’ll be seeing them all soon. With this thought and that of the extinction of the proud Flameheart clan, Jarn felt an overpowering rage filling every fiber of his being. Jarn had felt anger before, his people were known for their battle rages, but unlike the slow fires of anger that were more common, this feeling had become a white-hot inferno, threatening to consume him. The elders had talked of this. They said that it was the gods’ gift to the Flamehearts in times of war and pain, a force they spoke of could make one man as powerful as a hundred, driving him to feats thought impossible by any other.

Jarn’s vision dimmed and turned red, he started breathing hard, as if he was pumping the bellows of the giant forge for the village smithy. This time, the flame he fed was inside. Obviously frightened by his twisted visage, some of the goblins fell back, but not far enough. Seemingly without having to move , Jarn had already overtaken them. Emitting a scream of rage and pain suggesting whoever did so was intent upon conveying that pain to others as quickly as possible, he became a whirlwind of flashing steel. The two giant axes he held seemed to weigh nothing for the speed and accuracy with which he ripped through six goblins before the rest had time to react.

The goblins quickly readied their clubs and swords, and began circling Jarn. This didn’t seem to worry him much, he was content for the moment to hoist his kills into the air, and throw various appendages with great force at his enemies. Although this did no physical damage to the Bloodthorns, being pelted with parts of their neighbors, friends, and possible spouses -it was hard to tell with goblins- had some psychological effect on them, two score flung their weapons to the ground and ran away screaming, heads down and legs pumping for all they were worth.

They have killed everyone I knew, everyone I cared about, and they have defiled the homes of my ancestors! Jarn, last of the Flamehearts thought. Taking their lives won’t be enough.

Throwing his great axes with unerring aim, they whirred end over end, barreling through arms and legs, finally finding homes in the chest and neck of two goblins in the rear. Jarn charged as soon as he released them, putting him in the middle of the Bloodthorns. He tore apart the wretched creatures, unarmed. Snapping necks, crushing throats, pulling off limbs, and ripping apart their chain mail and dirty leather armor as if it were paper. The shrieking of his victims only drove him to greater heights of brutality.

Amid the carnage, Jarn’s mind surfaced from the turbulent waters of his rage, he realized that despite the damage he was causing, he was sustaining wounds that would eventually drain him. A nick here, a cut there, slowly sapping his strength. A surge of panic sent ice water through his gut and dissolved his courage, he immediately broke and ran from the fray, searching for any weapons he could find.

Please god, let me find something, anything! I can’t go to meet my ancestors after making such a stupid mistake! A shield, a knife, a club.... Anything. What? Despite the closing tsunami of biting teeth, stabbing knives, and pounding clubs about to overtake him, Jarn felt the world disappear as he gazed upon the torn body of his father, his expression was unchanged, seeming ready for anything even in death. He still held onto the broadsword that marked him as clan warleader. It seemed that his father, Kathur by name, held the weapon out to his son.

He took it reverently, having remembered how he was belted the one time he dared touch it without his father’s permission. He had been knocked straight through the hut’s thin wall. Kathur had been an imposing figure while the child was young, his dear mother having been killed during his birth, but he was not an unkind man, and Jarn respected him for it. He never knew his mother, but from the way Kathur had acted whenever she was mentioned, he had loved her very much and her loss pained him deeply.

Jarn jerked away from his nostalgic revelry as he was knocked to the ground from behind. One of the goblins must have worked up the nerve to attack. How dare they make me defile my father’s weapon with their blood! This is his and his alone, they will die by my hands just as others did at the hands of my father! He rolled and quickly brought the broadsword to bare, never realizing how heavy it was. Barely managing to dodge the next club swing of his now-visible assailant. He whipped the blade of the weapon around with all his strength, passing right through the midsection of the goblin. The upper half fell cleanly over with the most puzzled look in its face, the lower half stayed standing, as if nothing had happened. This weapon has existed for several centuries and still retains its edge! Heavy, but sliced that bastard right in half.
As Jarn continued to hack and slash at the few members of the raiding party that were still standing, he dimly became aware of the wounds that the goblins were inflicting upon him, they were learning to wait until after he swung the heavy sword. They would then attack while Jarn tried to regain his balance. He forced the idea that such vile creatures could learn from his mind and concentrated on his swings, yet the goblins kept scoring hits. His frustration slowly gave way to anger, the sword suddenly seemed lighter in his hands. The annoying cuts were now being scored less often, those that did make it past his defenses fueled his rage until he became that unstoppable berserker he once was.

Time passed without Jarn’s permission, the light of day, which had once made the ruby red blood of his enemies sparkle, began to wane. Even though Jarn barely felt tired, his limbs began to slow, he started to control his thoughts, and the pain of his wounds returned. It wasn’t until this happened that Jarn realized that the goblins fled long ago. All that kept him company was the corpses of his enemies, it looked as if they had not only been killed in a gruesome fashion, but deliberately tortured beforehand. Some had arms and legs removed, others had seemed to have been flayed alive, their skin hanging off their bodies in strips. Recollecting what he had been doing for the last couple of hours was impossible. Jarn shivered at the thought that such violence could have been committed in front of him and he had not seen it. Who could have done such things!? Even to goblins. My god, what am I going to...Jarn never finished that thought. He fell, exhausted and bleeding, lying with the corpses of his people.

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