Warriors of the Earth
September 8, 2014
Jack had speared a wild boar that had gotten too curious for his own good. The boar had come into his small camp to investigate the Ripperkah bodies he had piled near the edge of the cliff.
The sizzle and smell of the cooking pork might have been the best thing Jack had experienced since he landed on this unknown world. Then he chided himself. Despite the appearance of the tribe of corrupted Ripperkah, the lands he found himself within had an untamed beauty beyond most of what he’d seen. This place could be a paradise for both men and beast if somehow the spreading cancer of Xemmoni could be removed.
He sighed and tried to find a place where his torn and bruised body didn’t cry out in pain. He had just shifted the meat, when he saw a long shadow standing where none had existed before.
He jerked up, drawing his war dagger from its sheath. A tall raven haired man stood staring at him. The figure remained motionless as the fire played over his long hair and plain leather clothes. A few weapons dangled from the man’s belt, but the ruin covered spear he held appeared to be his primary weapon.
“You’re a silent one.” He paused, but the man made no move to talk. “I suppose you could have just as easily put the tip of that spear into my back in my current state.”
Still no movement or response came from the man.
“Maybe you might be a member of a tribe that hates the Ripperkah as much as I do?” Jack’s words passed slowly and he realized they were more for his own benefit that the man’s for he doubted he understood a word. Even ‘Ripperkah’ hadn’t gotten a glimmer for the figure. He made a motion with his hand toward the roasting food. “Would you care for some?”
The man still didn’t move.
But then he heard a voice behind him. Quickly turning, he saw a much older man whose long greyed hair spilled over a worn, but formerly colorful blanket. The thick blanket looked full of faded blues, greens, and reds, and covered the man’s whole body save for the tips of his leathered toes and his smiling face.
The man spoke to Jack in a language far from anything he had heard, but he did recognize two words. Ripperkah and Yig.
Jack pointed to the smiling man. “You are of Yig?”
The man’s grin widened and he pointed to himself as well as the black maned man across the fire.
“You both are. Well hey, my luck just got as good-”
The silent one tossed two large objects into his camp. They rolled once, but then came to a bloody stop. They were two severed heads.
“Maybe I’m even luckier than I thought. My guess is that those are the two Rips that tried to flee from me. I guess they won’t be bringing in any reinforcements any time soon.”
As if understanding his words, the older man nodded. The smile never left his face as he approached Jack. He reached out toward Jack’s shoulder and Jack took a step back. The man uttered a few quiet words and moved forward again.
“Oh what the hell,” Jack said and let the man touch his shoulder. A rich warmth passed into him and he let out a breath, he didn’t know he held, as his body was healed.
“Thanks for that, friend.”
The other man had finally moved and Jack saw him looking through the stacks of weapons he had collected. He said one word and then nodded his head. Looking at Jack, he said a few more words and then leaned his spear against a tree. A few seconds later, he had sat himself cross-legged near the fire and helped himself to a strip of pork.
Jack gave them a weak grin. “Now, if we only have some beer, this could be a pretty good night.” Thinking it wouldn’t hurt to try—Jack made a drinking motion with his hand.
With a grunt, the younger man tossed a wine skin at him.
Jack took a slow sip and coughed. Whatever it was, it was strong and burned all the way down.
This proved to be enough to make the black maned man smile and the elder joined them at the fire. The trio shared the meal in silence as a lonely wolf howled in the mountains to the north.
To be continued next Monday