Speed Versus Steel
August 5, 2014
Four more of the red feathered Ripperkah tribesmen raced at Jack while undoubtedly cursing him in their native tongue. Jack started his assault by smashing the choking man, at his feet, in the side of the head with the butt of his spear, which proved enough to knock him unconscious.
The other four had raced within eighty feet of him, when he took aim with his spear. The taller one with the tattooed scarlet mohawk tried to dodge his throw, but Jack’s spear stayed true and drove deep into the man’s chest. He toppled over and didn’t look like he’d be getting back up.
Jack grabbed up the unconscious man’s club and tossed it, but the big man in front batted it aside with his own war club.
The man to the left had a spear of his own and launched it at Jack.
Jack watched it arc toward him. He waited until the last second and then his arm lanced out and he snatched the feathered spear out of the air. He spared the remaining three warriors one last look and then took off running. He remembered too late that he had a thirty foot cliff behind him.
Turning, he sprinted to a cliff face to his left. It looked like it would be a difficult climb, but there was a ledge about ten feet over his head. He tossed the spear up onto the ledge and then scrambled up the loose stone as quickly as his feet would take him. A flung flint napped dagger took him in the shoulder, but only drew a trickle of blood.
He had just made it to the ledge when the Ripperkah reached the base. Their tattoos looked like ribbons of fresh blood and they shouted as the pack rushed up the short cliff.
Jack had just gotten his feet under him when the first one’s head appeared over the lip of the ledge. His reward for winning that race was a spear plunged through his eye. He fell away with a scream, but Jack retained his spear.
The Stalwart tried to repeat his attack, but the next man ducked back down. While Jack moved into position for an overhead stab, the biggest Ripperkah gained the ledge. He turned to attack this Xemmoni with his spear and had the top two feet of it smashed away.
The man had a stone dagger in his left hand and only blocking with the remainder of his spear kept Jack from being disemboweled. Jack brought the thin spear around like a staff and smashed the man on the side of the neck, but this only produced a greater rage and his war club broke Jack’s spear in two.
The second man had gained the ledge behind him and Jack knew that keeping him at his back could be a fatal mistake so, without warning, he leapt off the ledge.
He hit the ground with a roll. The fall shocked his system, but he didn’t detect any serious injuries. Once on the ground, he took off running. He let his hand axe and a throwing dagger fill his hands as he sped away.
With manic yells, the pair leapt after him.
He turned and fired his hand axe as the smaller one. The Ripperkah was still recovering from his jump and it hit him in the cheek. The man stumbled back with a cry, but Jack had already thrown his knife at the man.
“Let me introduce you to something. It’s called steal!” Jack yelled as the knife spun toward the wounded man. It took him blade first in the neck and he tumbled back so far that the thirty foot cliff claimed him with a drawn out yell.
The biggest Ripperkah went berserk and threw his club at Jack. When Jack dodged to the side it only made the man angrier.
He drew two more throwing knives. “I’ll trade throws with you all day, if you like.” He launched the knives, but the man blocked one with his own knife and ducked under the second, which send it tumbling down the dry waterfall. “There goes another one.”
Spitting red anger, the last man charged him with his dagger in the murder position. He yelled a few phrases with included the word, “Herekcul,” which Jack guessed might have been the man’s name.
With a casual motion, Jack bent down and picked up and handful of dirt and sticks. As Herekcul rushed at him, he received this to his face. This stunned the man long enough for Jack to give him the meanest right hook he could muster to the side of his face. He quickly followed this with a left jab to the gut.
The Herekcul slashed forward with his knife, slicing through Jack’s leather, shirt, and then finally skin.
Jack backpedalled while drawing his war dagger of Yig. “You want a knife fight so bad, I’ll be your huckleberry, you son of a bitch.”
Then Herekcul was everywhere at once. Cutting and slashing. His Rapidity spell burned faster than his comrades and Jack struggled to just stay ungutted. Even with his defensive fighting, he still received cuts and lacerations. He almost dropped his blade when the obsidian dagger slashed a deep line across his knuckles.
The Ripperkah had overextended himself for that last attack and underestimated Jack’s empty hand and he let him have a left hook to the stomach. This bent the Herekcul over and Jack punched forward to his dagger. The man dodged sideways but the hilt of the dagger still broke his nose with an audible snap.
The Herekcul stumbled backwards and it became his turn to fight defensively. He continued to backpedal until he reached the side of the dry waterfall and then leapt.
Jack hurried to the edge… but the man was gone.
He searched around, but there was no place to hide, let alone a way to survive the fall.
“Um, that can’t be good. Who knows how many other freaks like him he could have on my heels. Crap.”
Jack hurried to collect his and their weapons and make his way back to his prisoner, who was luckily still there. “Maybe I can learn something from this guy before the mountains are crawling with his kin.” Looking over his shoulder at the blazing sun, he said, “It looks like this is going to be a long day.”
To be continued next Monday