Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Berserker part 24

Bertrawr knelt in front of the chieftains of the Dog nation, his head lowered in respect for the ancients. The heads of the different tribes sat at a semicircular table, all facing him. Their grayed fur given a ghostly aura by the raging quiet fire behind them, he could feel sawn planks underfoot and felt no breeze and saw no moonlight, so they must have been in one of the luxurious longhouses in which the chieftains congregated. He couldn’t be sure for he dare not look up. The punishment for insolence would be grave. Bertrawr fairly vibrated with excitement and nervousness, he had never come anywhere close to the heart of the Dog nation, having been born and bred in what the humans called the Bretolian Forest.

“You have been chosen to be the leader of a great army”, One of the chieftains said in leaden tones.

“But don’t go putting airs that you’re worth any more than you already were”, seconded a peevish voice.

“Arise”, said the first voice. Bertrawr did so, only then seeing what the fire was doing behind them. A single tendril of flame linked itself to each chieftain. One of them noticed his scared expression.

“Do not be afraid”, said a soothing third. “This is our master, he is allowing us to communicate to you over a great distance.”

“What about this army?”, asked Bertrawr.

“Our glorious lord, Dommiel, The One Who Comes By Night, Leaving But Husks, has chosen you to lead his holy campaign.”, came the response. Bertrawr instinctively dropped to all fours when he heard the name of the gnoll’s patron deity spoken.

“You and all of your kin will be branded as belonging to him”, the voice continued. As he spoke a crest formed itself in the smoke of the great fire, a crescent moon being devoured by the head of a giant wolf.

“You will be supplied by His Grace, to assure you do not fail”. A large bow thunked into the wood before him.

“And finally, you shall be assisted by our lord’s contemporaries, Leraje and Zepar, as well as their servants”. The smoke changed again to show thousands of goblins and orcs marching side-by-side, the orcs under a crest showing crossed swords, the goblins under a fist clenching the world.

“For all these gifts and power, we ask but one thing”, the voice said, becoming more animated as it spoke. “You may conquer the world or shatter it, do as you wish, but their is one person you must spare”. The smoke changed once again to show the hated Jarn, sleeping peacefully, He recognized the man-thing from the failed raid.

“Get him to the circle of summoning!”, the Gnoll shrieked. “The fiery blood running through his veins will allow for the coming of a power even greater than that of your master”. The voice became more frenzied and Bertrawr found himself engulfed in the white hot arms of the flames. He awoke yowling in fear, seeing only the comforting trees around him. It had all been a dream. But if that was so then why was there a huge black bow beside him, and the final words of the chieftain ringing in his head?

Bertrawr abruptly sat up, grabbing his newly found bow, it felt warm and not quite solid in his hands. When he looked at it he saw the surface was comprised of some otherworldly hellmetal, writhing and forming disturbing scenes of carnage, brutality, and torture as he watched it. He put it down in disgust, after a few moments picked it back up again, unable to bear the incessant feeling of despair that had swallowed him. Strangely enough, the despair and pain disappeared.

As he stood up, he felt the wind blow against his fur, creating a stinging sensation on his arm. He peered at it, finding a circular brand on his singed flesh, showing a wolf’s head eating a crescent moon.

He had enough proof, it was no dream. He quickly gathered together his pitiful looking troops and pointed them in a southerly direction, moving faster than anyone thought possible and without rest. After all, Beleth was coming.

No comments: