Sunday, May 24, 2009

Berserker Part 3

“Awake boy”, a voice said in the dark. Jarn had felt something prod his ribs. Slowly he opened his eyes, banishing the darkness. He looked around to see the inside of his father’s hut. He had lived here since he could remember, and would continue to do so until he took a wife. His gaze swept over the dilapidated cot which served as his father’s bed, the table in the middle of the single room, a few hunting trophies on the wall, and all the other normal household items he was used to. Slowly his eyes came to rest upon the towering figure that was as much a thing of this place as the table, his father. “You’ve slept gone past noon”, came the harsh growl. “Would you want to be late for the festivities?”

“Festivities?”, Jarn groaned. He was becoming increasingly aware of the powers of the elder’s spirits that new initiates were required to take, as well as a growing respect for the elders, who could slug it back all night without any noticeable effects.

“The harvest celebration. Is there nothing you can remember?”, replied a voice like two stones grinding together. Kathur left the room to allow Jarn to get ready for the coming day.

Jarn slowly got out of his bedroll, aware of every ache in his body with painful clarity. Was it possible for your hair to hurt? He staggered over to the wash basin in the corner of the room and promptly threw up. Now he was fresh and ready for the new day. If someone speaks over a whisper I really will kill them.

Jarn walked shakily over to the animal skin flap that served as a door, swept it aside, and left the room. What sights he saw outside brought him to his knees in fear.

Maggot infested corpses all over the place, the huts he knew would be there to greet him were burned out ruins. The short grasses which were abundant around them were stained red with the blood of his peers. In the center of it all, a single figure stood. His features were obscured by long robes, fouled by all manner of bodily secretions. Around him goblins danced, flinging themselves about with a wild, unholy energy, carrying gory trophies of their kills and driving themselves into bloody frenzy.

“Come no closer weakling”, shrieked the robed figure. “Lest you should end up like the others. The only reason you live now is by our hands, you were spared so that you may spread the word of our master’s coming. It is you that shall bring him into the world of man.” The figure slowly brought its disfigured hands to its hood and threw it back with a flourish. Underneath was a rotting parody of humanity, its facial features had disintegrated into a single mass, bone was clearly visible beneath the near translucent skin.

“The coming of Beleth!”, It shrieked. A sickly green flame that surely could not exist in this world began to appear where the empty sockets of its eyes once were. They grew and grew until Jarn was forced to look away. Half formed creatures slipping and sliding through each other, seemingly trying to get at the figure were visible in the glare’s aftermath.

Jarn felt his very skin begin to sizzle as he tried vainly to shield himself from the terrible wyrdlight emanating from the dead thing. He was paralyzed, unable to move, speak, or think of anything except of his fear of the monster and his apparent demise.

Just before the unholy light totally consumed him, he screamed. A long wailing scream that went on longer than humanly possible. It seemed that everything in Jarn was behind that scream, his mind, his feelings, his very soul.

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