November 10, 2014
The morning dawned warm and humid. His provider must have moved like a shadow, for he hadn’t sensed anyone in his wooden cabin, but a breakfast of fresh meats and odd fruit rested at the foot of the bed of skins he’d slept on once he’d returned to his human form.
Jack ate a few bites while slipping on his boots. It became obvious that his clothes had passed beyond the foul stage and moved into disintegrating. His boots and jeans still held up, but not much else. His leather jacket was little more than a tattered set of saddled bags he used to hold his eight knives.
He paused and reflected on his goals, his needs. Since he’d arrived on this strange world, his initial struggle to just survive had been replaced by a desire to help Mythcul return to their village safely. But he knew he’d stirred home a hornet’s nest of Ripperkah and had already fought a Caradon and Gloom on this world. The Darken Empire was here. Could that mean one of Vile Darken’s incarnations was here too?
Then he thought of something. Could a Loskeep be here as well? He’d only met Vile’s former mentor and now adversary, once, but that meeting had one of the best things to ever happen to him since he’d become a Stalwart.
And not just because Loskeep had giving him about eight million dollars’ worth of gold.
He took another bite of something that tasted quite a bit like bacon. Who am I kidding? This is a whole damn planet I’m talking about. Just because they might be here doesn’t mean they have to be anywhere near me, or even on the same continent. Maybe I should just start thinking about getting back home.
Then he rubbed his forehead. But how can I just bail on these people if they’re in such trouble? And if Vile is around here, or any part of the damn, Darken Empire I should strike a blow against them. Wouldn’t it be a kick in the ass if I could strike back against a different incarnation of the guy that sent me to this rock?
Jack thought back to the two divergent forces of darkness who had contacted him along his journey. One had pledged their support….the other, perhaps he’d need to earn it, but his thoughts ran deeper than some classic round up the wagons and hope the good guys win scenario. The villains always cheated, so why shouldn’t they, or really just him. He’s learned a few things from Ethan before his friend of Loki had fallen.
No, he wasn’t anything near being a servant of the god of the flame. He would do things his own way.
Vile and his kin had spies. Jack knew what they’d be expecting him to do. It was time to do the exact opposite.
He gathered up his few meager supplies and pounded the rest of his breakfast. After making sure his serpentine lover remained in her corner of his backpack, he snuck out of the back of his cabin through a small skin-covered window. Since he’d been given a cabin along the perimeter of the village, it appeared that he’d remained undetected.
For a moment, he hated himself for what he was about to do. Mythcul had been kind and he hated to take a piss on his hospitably, but in the end, Jack knew he’d be doing the old shaman of Yig more good by enacting the plan he had in mind.
He’d only used the spell once. On the rooftop of his mother’s corrupted apartment, as the whole thing collapsed around him, Jack had called for the aid of a raven. Focusing on a spell he chose to call the Aid of Yig’s Creatures, Jack sent a request for help out into the avian kingdom.
Yig’s force pulsed strong on this wild world and a bird of prey, he’d be inclined to call an eagle on his world, arrived. The brown feathered raptor had green highlights and a beak that grew wider than those on Jack’s world. This beak also transitioned through the color spectrum in a parrot-like manner.
Jack thought it ironic that he could communicate with the bird easier than he had the two men he spent the last few days with. The eagle nodded. It knew what Jack wanted it to do.
It had a name and called himself, Tree Arrow
After becoming a snake, Jack joined his unusual lover in his own backpack. With a swoop of his wings, the Tree Arrow took to the air. It headed south, back to the plains, back toward his enemies the servants of Lord Vile.
To be continued next Monday