March 25, 2013
Alone, Jack ran at the Queen of the Temple of Pain and her surviving ally. Jack’s three remaining compatriots still screamed as their bodies writhed in agony on the floor behind him. Jack had knives and other weapons on him, but he let them rest in their sheaths. He hated the Templars with a burning passion and he wanted to finish this with his hammer.
The Templar Queen welded a curved scimitar, while man used some type of spiked war club that had evil, twisted hooks emerging in a myriad of angles. The Queen held back, more than happy to let her man meet the brunt of Jack’s assault.
Jack’s swung hammer was met by the bladed club and the Stalwart was distressed to see the head of his sledge go spinning away. Jack backpedalled away from the tall Templar as the Xemmoni swung his club in wide arcs. Jack attempted to use the remainder of his hammer to parry the blows. He blocked two swings, but the second cost him another foot of his hammer handle.
The Templar continued to press the attack and Jack cried out when one of the weapon’s hooks tore a line pain down his left arm. Jack kept backpedaling until he hit a pool of blood, which caused him to slip. He lost balance and hit the floor hard.
With an insane grin, the Templar moved in to finish him. Jack had other plans. He actually rolled toward the Xemmoni and the spiked weapon splashed into the pool of blood behind him, missing Jack’s head by inches. As Jack rolled, he tore his war dagger from its sheath and sliced halfway through the man’s ankle. It was the villain’s turn to fall. He used the knife to block the Templar’s weapon as he got into position above the fallen man.
Then, like a vampire slayer, he drove the jagged point of the hammer handle into the fiend’s dark heart. The Templar coughed and struggled, but it proved to be the type of wound that even a Xemmoni couldn’t survive.
He was just attempting to get to his feet when another Bestow hit him. The Queen of the Temple laughed as pain ruled his body. This wasn’t an Agony Bestow. It was something else, something worse. Where the Agony Bestow just made you feel pain, this Bestow was tearing his body apart. Flesh split and blood poured from him. Burn marks appeared on his arms and hands. His back exploded in anguish as a hundred whip marks emerged from his swollen flesh. It felt like nails were being driven into his flesh from every angle. His body arched and he Screamed.
The Queen’s laughter could just be heard over his own cries. She moved in toward him in no huge hurry. “You played a good game Stalwart, but cost me quite a bit of time. You know how hard it is to find decent followers? Not everyone can feast on the art of torture and pain. In takes an advanced understanding to fully grasp our goals. But perhaps it is for the best, I had grown tired of most of them and maybe one of those you brought in with you can help me start to rebuild my ranks and give me a new thrill.”
“Go to Hell.”
“Oh, I visit there from time to time. A great place to conduct a little research. Perhaps I’ll show you some of the things I’ve learned there over the next few weeks. For your life force will feed my long and well, Stalwart. It is the least you can provide me after…”
She paused, startled. Then fell to her knees. Alex stood behind her and Jack was just able to see through the red haze of pain that the young teen had stabbed her in the back.
As he drew forth his sword, he said, “I guess you were to busy bragging to remember that your dead buddy had been that one that fired one of your damn spells at me. When Jack killed him, the spell was broken, dumb ass!”
She pointed a finger at Alex, but didn’t have time to finish off her Bestow before a swing of Alex’s sword took off her head.
The torture ceased, but the damage remained. Jack tried to get onto his hands and knees, but passed out instead.
To be continued next Monday…
March 11, 2013
As Jack, Alex, and John raced into the corrupted beauty salon, they heard more grinding and the building vibrated under their boots. This was followed by a loud bang as what had to be the tow truck Jerry drove smashed into the back of the strip mall a second time.
Jack was the first to enter the center of this makeshift Temple of Pain and his stomach churned at what he saw. Body parts were stacked in piles along the walls and hung from rusty hooks suspended from the ceiling. Viscera spread over the floor in stagnant pools and clogged foul drains. Victims in various states of dismemberment moaned on blood soaked tables. Most of them were unknown to Jack, but when he saw Eric’s mangled body, it was like a dagger through his guts.
Strangely, the one thing he didn’t see much of was an enemy. Maybe all of the pukes we’ve already taken out have actually made a difference. But I know their leader, that bitch of theirs, is still around here somewhere.
“Help me. Help me,” one of the men hanging vertically along the far wall called out. Only then, did Jack notice that another of Alex’s friends, Blake, hung there.
Beside him, John lost it and vomited across the already sick floor. “Alex, help him along. We need to be sure we stick close. The only thing we can count on is that this isn’t over yet.”
The trio started to move toward Blake, but Andre appeared out of the back of the building and got there first. “Don’t worry, Blake. I’ll get you down.” The young teen said.
“Andre, be careful,” Jack called out. “Hold up, we need to-”
But it was already too late. Blake hadn’t been chained at all. It was all a ruse and their former friend’s eyes glowed a dull red before he slipped a jagged dagger into Andre’s heart. Andre fell back with a scream—blood already seeping through his lips. A second later, he stumbled over a severed head and his body toppled into a pool of blood with a grotesque splash.
“Son of a…” Jack started as he ran over the slick floor. His other allies hurried to stay on his heels. Jerry was just entered through the same door that Andre had used when Jack’s hand axe went spiraling. The blade took Blake in the forehead and this proved enough to save Jerry from suffering Andre’s fate.
Jack knew that not much could be harder than taking out your own friend, so he saved the teens the trouble and put Blake out of his misery with the sledge.
Looking around for a moment, he found the place devoid of adversaries and only the slow dripping of blood and the weak moans of the Templar’s victims could be heard.
Jerry and the others reached him and Alex asked, “What now?”
“We have to clean this place out and then burn it to the ground. Nothing this horrible can be allowed to fester and regrow.”
“You’ll do nothing of the kind.” The Templar Queen said, as she and what might have been her last surviving follower stepped into the horrid room. Red flashes erupted from the pair’s fingers and John and Jerry’s throats filled with screams before their bodies had even hit the floor.
“The only thing you and yours will do is die at our leisure and be assured it will be a long dance of exquisite pain for all the damage you have done to my temple.”
Having said her piece, the Templar queen and her follower once again fired Agony Bestows at the remaining Stalwarts. Alex collapsing like the others, but Yig burned strong within Jack’s veins and, with a growl, he managed to burst past the spell this time and raced for the scarlet villains.
Alone he faced the evil pair. The lives of the remaining teens were in his hands and he didn’t intend to let them down.
To be continued next Monday…
March 4, 2013
As John dragged Jack through the broken glass and away from the tall Templar, the Stalwart struggled with every ounce of his being to overcome the foul Xemmoni’s Agony Bestow. Pain arced through him that even the cold kiss of the northern winter couldn’t dispel. Jack could just pierce the red pain of the torturous magick enough to see Alex fighting his former friend as the Templar followed after them with the slow assurance of death.
John dumped him on the sidewalk and raised a machete. “I guess it’s up to—ahhhhhhgggggg.” A moment later the teen had collapsed as his body went into spasms of pain.
The blaring red eyes of the Templar burned in the night as he drew near. “Why kill you quickly,” he whispered like a hiss of steam, “when I can enjoy your death for weeks?”
“Maybe so I wouldn’t be able to do this!” a blood splattered Alex shouted from behind him before he brought an axe down on the center of the evil man’s skull. Even such a blow was not enough to kill the terrible fiend, but it did weaken his control over Jack. With a loud yell, the Stalwart leapt onto his feet and tackled the Templar around the mid-section. They went tumbling back through an unbroken window of plate glass and the Xemmoni gasped as several shards pierced his back. Jack narrowly avoided being stabbed himself as one long triangle was driven through the Templar so violently that three inches protruded through the Xemmoni’s chest.
“You must be loving all this pain, you sick freak,” Jack shouted as he smashed his elbow across the man’s chin.
“Jack, get back,” Alex yelled. “I got this!”
Jack rolled away from the Xemmoni seconds before Alex decapitated the Templar. As his head rolled towards Jack, the Stalwart struggled to his feet. “I guess he won’t be surviving that.”
Together the two men checked on John, who had begun to recover from the Temple of Pain Bestow once the Xemmoni had perished. As John slowly regained his baring, Jack addressed Alex. “How did you show up so fast? Most people would have a hard time fighting their friend. Are you okay?”
“I guess when a guy tried to stab you in the heart, you have to figure the friendship is over.”
Alex flashed a blood covered smile and drew his leather back to reveal a strange breastplate man of interlocked steal plates. “I made this a while ago. I never thought I’d ever use the thing for real. Guess I was wrong.”
“I’m glad you brought it with.” Alex clasped the man on the shoulder and tried to not make it look like it was to help him keep his balance. “Welcome to the world of the Stalwart. Now let’s-”
A loud crash sounded from behind the strip mall.
“Crap, Jerry and Andre are striking before we’re ready come on!”
As one, the three men raced into the store and Jack only hoped they could join the fray before it become too late for Alex’s young friends.
To be continued next Monday…
Next week Jack Enters The Temple of Pain