Darkness Closes In

June 29, 2010

I was still uncertain why I had been graced with my two powerful
Stalwart companions, but after months of grumbling about not receiving
any help, I figured I should be keeping my mouth shut now that I had
some.
    At this point, I thought a long circle around our foes would be
the best idea. After a visit to the Glenwood Springs Brewery and a stay
along the Colorado River, we began to head south again.
    Besides getting stuck, we made it back to the town where the
Creeper had slugged me with a car. Even though the day was bright and
sunny, threads of misgiving were crawling up my spine.
    Each time I saw someone give us a double take; I figured it was
a spy. Hannah could feel me flinching and asked, “What’s wrong?” But I
couldn’t tell her.
    After driving through town, I agreed to pull over at a little
restaurant. I had ordered a pitcher and some chicken wings, before
Hannah was able to ask me again, “What is it? You’re acting strangely.” 
    “I’m just getting a bad feeling.”
    Ethan spoke up. “Why is that surprising when we are about to
head into the heartland of an evil that has made you flee from them,
what, three times?”
    Hannah shot him a glare, but I said, “I think there is more to
it than that. I think that this whole alliance anomaly has us so
preoccupied that we have forgotten to question what such a powerful
gathering of Xemmoni might be trying to accomplish here.”
    Hannah’s eyes went wide. “You’re right, I mean they have to be
up to something besides just trying to kill us.” 
    “Like what?” The Loki man asked.
    “I’m really not sure, but perhaps we have been to egocentric, we
think all these things have been gathering to take us out, maybe…they
are just trying to kill us so we won’t have a chance to expose what they
are doing. The Ripperkah bikers, the assassin in Moab, and maybe even
that invite into Selector country, those could have all been attempts to
take out the only people that had found these freaks and survived.”
    “But who do they think we’d tell? We don’t really know anyone
else,” Ethan was saying. “It isn’t like there is a Stalwart hotline, or
something.”
    “Yes, but they don’t know that,” Hannah said, while growing more
animated. “They might think we are tapped into some underground that we
could use to bring in reinforcements.”
    “Do you have an underground like that?” Ethan asked.
    “No, not really.”
    “Damn,” then preceded to evaporate the rings his beer glass had
created on the table. 
    We continued to bounce ideas around until the food arrived. The
food was good and we dug in. I was talking away about what might be
going on back in the formable mountain ranges of the San Juans, when I
noticed Ethan slump forward resting his head on his arms. Seconds later
he was snoring.
    Looking over at Hannah, I saw her yawn wide enough to swallow a
cat. I jerked to my feet something was happening!
    But as soon as I stood up, the room began to spin. 
    It was only then that I noticed that all the other costumers had
left and the lights had been dimmed.
    I tried to shake Hannah, but she only fell against the table
snoring cutely.
    “Oh crap!”
    “Yes, Jack Primus, You should have stayed away, far away, for
you won’t have a second chance. Instead of enjoying your freedom, you
have now become… desert.”
    Turning, I saw a dark eyed man moving towards me. He wore a suit
that was probably more fashionable back when the colonists were shoving
the red coats back into the Atlantic. On either side of this gaunt man,
at least ten Darcarre flowed toward me, like toppled ink spreading over
clean linen. 
    I tried to draw a weapon, but they were all over me before my
mangled senses could operate. I still fought like a caged wolf, but
there were too many and their leader finally arrived and smashed the
side of my temple with the pummel of his drawn sword.
    There was a bright flash and then only darkness.

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Crossing The Snow Line

June 22, 2010

          Sorry, I didn’t get back to you all for a while. I’m sure you
must have been worried, but some things can’t be helped.
The Battle with the Darcarre was fierce. Still there are two things the
Darcarre hate more than anything else: Light and fire, and between
Hannah and Ethan, I had them both.
          The Skinwalkers fought like cornered wolves. Them, along with
me chopping a few faces in half, sent the Darcarre searching for easier
prey. We did our best to hunt them down as they fled. If there is one
thing I’ve learned, it is to never leave a Xemmoni alive, but even at I
thought those words, I realized that I was now facing three Xemmoni
Selectors, who we had just fought along side of.
           In the end, we made a simple agreement with them. They would
return to the nation and let the rancher have his lands, but they would
also be allowed to cull any cattle that trespassed onto the reservation.
It seemed fair enough to me, besides I needed to move on.
          So move on is what we did, until Ethan got our new ride stuck
in the mud for four days. We were assaulted by gale force winds, which
were taking down trees, rain, hail, and even snow. I know this is the
Rockies, but come on, isn’t it June?
So yeah, we were stuck for a long while. Each minute I cursed our state,
for waiting would only make the Xemmoni stronger and give them more time
to prepare. Finally, with a little help from Yig’s creatures, we were
able to free ourselves.
Now the real trial was before us. We needed to head back to the Million
Dollar Highway and back into the home of this new Dark Alliance, this
gathering of Caradon, Glooms, and Darcarre.
        We had decided to have one last night of comfort after at the
wet we’d been through and found a cozy mini apartment in the picturesque
town of Lake View.
        While Hannah was kind enough to make a stir fry out of our
camping leftovers, Ethan and I shared a discussion in front of the
television. He was channel surfing with glee, until my deep voice
brought him back to reality.
        “So are you with me a hundred percent on this one?”
He tried to stay focused on the TV. “Sure, why wouldn’t I be?”
        “Well, you saw that freak the Creeper. I’ve been through a lot,
but I’ve never had to face someone like that. He swung a car at me like
a baseball bat. You know how much that hurt?”
        “Why would you think we wouldn’t be helping you?” Hannah’s hands
were on her hips and she didn’t look very happy. “When have I not been
here for you? Have I ever turned away or let you down?’
        “No, of course not, But things are getting weirder. It seems
like the whole Xemmoni world is rising up to make sure I don’t make it
back to Idaho. And, like I said, That Creeper, well, he is something
else. I have no clue how we can take someone like that out. I hit him
with everything I had and then some and he was barely slowed down. I’m
not sure the three of us could handle him and if we have to fight him,
while he is backed up by the other races, I won’t be betting on the
outcome.”
        “Geez, aren’t you Peter-peppy tonight.”
        “I’m never a Peter-peppy.”
         Hannah managed a slight smile. “I was sent to insure you make
it to Idaho and for whatever reason, so was Ethan. You can count on me.”
        Eyes turned toward the scarlet man. “Yeah, yeah, you can count
on me too.”
        “Alright,” I allowed myself a humorless smile. “Let’s do this
then and one other thing, when we do get there, The Creeper is mine!” 

Come find out how Jack got to be here with the First Chronicles of Jack Primus

Since Ethan was so anxious to light a bonfire, who was I to say no. Besides I figured it would be unlikely that these creatures known as Skinwalkers would be showing up the first night anyway.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

There isn’t much better than hanging around a campfire with your lady, cooking some good grub, and having a few drinks. Even Ethan wasn’t getting on my nerves too much. We were laughing and joking. Ethan could be pretty funny and was cracking us up with his stories, which were mostly at his own expense.

Everything was going well until Ethan fell back into the vermilion sands and then didn’t get back up. This didn’t worry me until Hannah leaned into me and then slumped forward already breathing rhythmically.

As soon as I realized that I couldn’t wake her, I shot to my feet.

My head jerked around and at first I saw nothing in the darkness. The desert loomed quiet and infinite. No wind stirred the dry bushes and the sharp outlines of the mountains cut into the sky.

Then I saw the eyes. Twin yellow fires burned. The yellow of petulance, mold, disease.

It moved closer.

“Ah, Stalwart… you must be the leader of your sad small group if you were able to fight off my powers.”

Grabbing a throwing knife, I said, “that isn’t all I’ll fight off, if you don’t drop your Bestow.”

“Don’t be foolish. I assure you that although I would be enough to take out six times your number, I’m not alone.”

“Why don’t you all come at me and we’ll see. I always heard that your kind held a certain type of honor, but if you need some back up to take on one man with a dagger, I’ll understand.”

“Your insulting words do nothing to plead your case and continue your life.” The Skinwalker had now entered the firelight and was certainly a sight. Besides a slim loincloth of leather, he was naked. Black paint covered his face while the rest of his body was painted with what had to be blood. Mirroring Jack, he held a knife in his large hand.

“So what’s it to be then? Are we heading to Go Time, or do you have something else in mind?”

“Servant of Yig, you of all people should sympathize with our situation. Despite your current laws, this land is ours and we chose to defend it.”

“I’ve run into Selectors before. We had joined forces until the going got rough and they returned to a darker path, a path that I couldn’t allow. There are many things that I chose not to allow. Harming innocents and animals are included into that mix.”

“Hah, the master of cheesesteaks and chicken wings is upset that we slaughtered a few cattle a couple of weeks early.” He paused, while his yellow eyes glowed. “All the lands within the four sacred mountains are ours.”

Suddenly a cry was heard from the darkness. It was a cry that was quickly cut short.

I heard the words before I saw the others. “Master we are under attack. Dark forms move in silence.”

It was two more of his kind and I was quite surprised to see them flying into our camp.  “Sounds like Darcarre,” he said. “You have brought things more foul that the flesh farmers with you.”

You’re right they are Darcarre and I sure as hell didn’t bring them. I suggest an alliance.”

He snarled at me, showing the whites of his eyes against his blackened face.

“Agreed, for they are many. Afterwards …we shall see.”

“Good, then wake up my friends. It sounds like we are going to need them.”

To be continued…

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