December 29, 2014
Jack didn’t wait for the reanimated Mummies to be on him. He grabbed up a loose stone the size of a cinder block and tossed it into the lead biggest cluster of undead. The Mummy crumpled in half and splintered while his mangled body slowed those behind it.
“Good, this seem more like Romero zombies and less like Korloff liches,” he yelled as he stabbed the butt of his torch into some loose mortar and grabbed up two fist sized rocks.
“You know I have no idea what you are babbling on about,” Tynilia said, while she kicked one in the chest. A moment later she spoke a brief in incantation. An ebony cloud of smoke appeared before her and quickly solidified into a dark handled club. Black blades of sharpened obsidian rotated away from the mace in a vicious looking pattern.
Despite his bravado, dread crept across Jack’s skin. The wavering light of the small torch created moving shadows amongst the approaching dead and did little more than show him the building horror he faced. Dry warped limbs fought to be the first to rend his flesh. While empty eye sockets burned with dull yellow lights over mangled teeth that snapped open and shut.
He got his two stones thrown, but then it was on. Drawing his hand axe and war dagger, he entered the fry. Crawling splinters of bone tore at him as his weapons slashed and cut everywhere at once. As he became overwhelmed by the press of withered dead, he realized that his weapons were ill-suited for his foe. Cutting through ribs or stabbing into a face did little to slow down his opponents. He took to trying to decapitate them with the axe and pulled it off a few times, but he couldn’t keep up with the onslaught of their growing numbers.
“Retreat into the tunnel I made,” he shouted.
Tynilia had no problem doing so or holding her own, she moved faster than the eye could follow. Her lean body mixed powerful kicks with brutal smashes of her summoned mace.
Within the narrow tunnel, they could hold their own with no worry of being flanked, but the mass of Mummies still caused them to slowly retreat.
“We have to hold them,” Jack growled through clenched teeth.
But then misfortune struck when a half destroyed body crawled under the melee and grabbed Tynilia’s ankle as she threw a back kick. It proved enough to send her spilling into the dirt.
Jack moved to assist her, but when the mummies pressed in hard, it was all he could do to just pull her out from under the pile forming over her.
“Retreat back to the sphere,” he yelled. “Maybe we can climb up out of their reach.”
The pair turned and raced for the earthen sphere, but before they grew too near, Jack sensed something was wrong. Illumination flowed in from above and he knew he had the sphere completely enclosed. Still, the horde of grasping undead gave them little choice and the rushed into the opened sphere.
An all too familiar voice called down to him taunting Jack in his own language. “Primus, you weak minded fool. How many times and on how many worlds must I destroy you. If one of you wasn’t enough of a curse, now I must contend with two.”
Jack looked back at the mummies who held back at the edge of the tunnel, before saying, “Yeah, believe me, I know the feeling.”
Red pulsed like spilled blood around the figure of this world’s incarnation of Vile Darken. Red feathers mixed with dull purples and glossy blacks. Skulls and tattoos covered the rest of his form, although his tall black pirate boots and smoking cutlass remained similar to the form Jack had been cursing on his own world for over a year. Standing with Vile were dozens of Ripperkah warriors and well as beasts straight out of a madman’s nightmares.
Vile laughed without humor. “I’d ask you to lower your weapons, if you had any worth the bother. Submit to my will and perhaps I will allow you a final meal while you inform me of every dirty secret that lingers in the useless pudding you call a brain.”
Tynilia looked over at him. “Sorry, you are on your own with this one, tall, dark, and thick skulled.” Then, within seconds, her body dispersed into an inky mist and was gone.
Jack attempted to follow suit and become a snake, but a score of Ripperkah leapt into the sphere and grabbed him up before he could make it too far. He injected a few of them with enough venom to drop one of their dinosaurs, but one grabbed him by the tall and swung him in a circle that wasn’t finished until his head smashed into a rock.
Then he only knew darkness.
To be continued next Monday
December 22, 2014
Jack closed the top of the sphere he had created under the earth of the Ripperkah city. As this plunged he and the jaguar into darkness, he said, “Oh boy, this isn’t exactly how I had seen this day going.”
A few seconds passed while he fumbled for a lighter and wondered if, after all he’d been through on this strange world, if he still had one. He pulled one out of his shredded leather jacket and then nearly dropped it when a voice sounded in the absolute darkness. “Your day,” the voice was female. “I just wasted almost a year’s worth of debasing myself in order to infiltrate the Kah Temple and I had to throw it all away to keep Kal Gixell from rending you to pieces.”
He flicked the light. Yes, there was a young, raven haired, and very naked woman in the enclosed pit with him. It didn’t surprise him to see the jaguar gone, but what did surprise him, after weeks of communicating with sign language, was that he was able to understand her words. He decided to address that first.
“How come I can understand you?”
“I cast a spell, what else would it be,” irritation seeped through her every word. “But I think right now that is the least of our concerns. You must know The Darken resides here. When he arrives he’ll be able to tear through your little incantation with ease. We most likely only have minutes. If you need to say any last prayers do them now. Also I would prefer to go down fighting, but I’d rather not be naked as I do so. I’d ask you for you jacket, but I see it is barely able to remain on your shoulders.”
“Do you always talk this much?” he grumbled. “And don’t color us gone, my ‘little spell’ isn’t through yet.”
Despite his words, Jack knew he was nearly spent. Using the last ebbs of his mystic strength, he created a tunnel through the earth heading south. “Follow me if you want to live.”
Stepping gingerly through the loose stones, she followed.
The earth flowed under them and he used it to fill the sphere they had so recently occupied. He reached an interwoven wall of stone blocks. It slowed his progress, but he kept going even as the last of his Ki faded. The stones fell away revealing a dark enclosure.
With no small amount of trepidation, Jack moved into the room. Flicking on his lighter again, did little to ease his nerves. The space appeared large, but it was the shapes littering the floor that drew his attentions. If his eyes served his correctly, dozens of mummies spread out in every direction before him.
“Making sure they know we are here?” she said.
“Well, if they’re going to get up and attack us, sometime it’s good to just get it over with.”
“Are all Yiglings so brazen?”
“How the hell would I know and I think I passed from ‘ling’ be added to the back of anything I do.” Turning toward he she said, “The Name’s Jack Primus by the way and you are…?”
“I’m—you can call me Tynilia.”
Jack brushed the dust off his clothes, while Tynilia looted enough fabric of the mummies to give herself a mini skirt just this side of legal. She appeared less worried about concealing her upper half and a pair of turquoise necklaces remained all she used to cover her tight breasts.
Jack found enough stray cloth to make a torch on the end of a broken mace he discovered. After he lit it, he asked, “So Tynilia, you don’t seem to have any worries about robbing from these dead.”
Her green eyes flashed under her ebony locks. “They will either attack us or they won’t,” she said, while pulling an obsidian topped spear out of a mummy’s withered hand. “I heard The Darken had plans for these things, but being the absent minded fool that he is, we can just hope his goals wandered elsewhere.”
“So tell me a bit more about what you were doing here?”
“As just must have guessed, I’m a servant of the Dark King, Tezcatlipoca and I…” Her voice trailed off as scrapings were heard.
All around them the mummies began to stir. Soon some of them flinched while others began to give forth dry moans as they struggled to their feet. “So much for Darken being a slacker, I see,” Jack said, but then the time for fighting arrived.
To be continued next Monday
December 15, 2014
The arrow that pierced the eagle, carrying Jack, had struck a deadly blow and the swamp eagle spun in mind numbing circles as they plummeted into the enemy’s city. He hoped it would spread its wings and glide in for the bird’s sake as much as his, but that was becoming unlikely.
As the ground raced up toward them, Jack remembered that Yig blesses his followers with the ability to use most of their spells while in serpent form and he feed his healing spell into the eagle.
With a loud caw, it pulled up just before hitting the interlocking stones that formed a grey road between two large pyramids. The large, fish-hooked beak opened in a loud challenge as it landed and the people, who appeared to be mostly women and children, scattered.
A lone man, covered with a tiger strip of red tattoos, ran forward as he drew back a spear. Instead of taking flight and escaping, the eagle flew at the man and raked his face with its massive claws. The man screamed again when its beak took off his ear.
Not one to let his allies fight alone, Jack assumed his human form just as the archer and three more Ripperhah arrived. He could sense their corruption burning like a putrid fire of red rage. Even before his hands had fully reformed, Jack tossed his female serpent at the archer.
She became entangled in the man’s bow. He had been shouting orders, but those turned into a pained cry, when her fangs embedded themselves into his eye. He drew back screaming and dropped his bow.
Before they could recover from the shock of what unfolded before them, Jack grabbed the first man’s fallen spear and flung it through the chest of the closest Ripperkah.
The last two snarled and enacted their Body Weaponry, Bestow. It only took seconds for fierce stone spikes and blades to protrude from their arms.
Jack drew his war dagger and hand axe from the tatters of his leather jacket. “Take on a whole fucking city, by myself, that’s a Jack Primus thing to do!” he shouted. Despite his cockiness, Jack knew that the only reason he had even survived this long was because the majority of the city had emptied out to destroy his allies in the forest. He might have liked to be a little more subtle than just taking on the city in the open, but subtlety wasn’t one of his strong points.
More men had already arrived when the two warriors leapt at him. A second before he engaged them, he saw his serpent lover, finish off the bowman with multiple strikes to the face, while the eagle swooped in on those that raced up behind him.
A battle with a Ripperkah is never an easy fight. Their increased speed mixed with their thrusting and cutting weapons making them deadly opponents. But Jack didn’t have the time to waste whittling down these two men while staying safe. So he turned his back toward one of them, while blocking the man before him. His hand axe pushed the man’s Body Weaponry aside and he drove his dagger straight through his skull.
He cried out when the second man’s blades slashed open his back, but Yig provides and Jack sucked up the pain while driving a back kick into the Ripperkah’s chest. This threw the man off balance enough for Jack to turn and make a meaty chop down on the Ripperkah’s forearm with his axe. He blocked the Xemmoni’s next attack with his war dagger and then cut through half his neck with his hand axe.
“Alright who’s next—ah crap!”
Over twenty people poured in at them from the north, while maybe half as many came at him from the south.
“You want to mess with warriors of Yig? Then I guess you’ll enjoy this!” Jack yelled as he brought forth his most powerful spell and controlled the earth under their feet. The rocks making up the road shot into the air as they molded into spikes. As this happened, the space left by the moving earth had become a pit that many of the Ripperkah tumbled into. Through the chaos the eagle continued its attacks, striking at the damaged and disorganized Xemmoni.
Jack looked south, but saw he was too late. His serpent lover had tried to hold the pass between the two pyramids, but even as he watched, a large red feathered Ripperkah cut her in half.
Jack let his anger flow from him and the earth exploded to the south. Boulders and debris knocked warriors in every direction and many would clearly never stand again. Jack saw the tall feathered warrior, who had killed his snake, try to stand and give more orders. This continued until Jack buried him under eight feet of earth.
Suddenly his body became wracked with pain as thorns and blades erupted through his skin. He bent over in agony, while foul laughter echoed from behind him. He was just able to see a thin man dressed from head to ankle in feathers and dark tattoos. The shaman laughed and danced on the top of a pyramid as Jack’s agony grew and blood flowed from fifty wounds.
More men came in running from every direction, but there remained little he could do to fight through the red waves of pain.
Then a roar sounded and Jack caught a flash of darkness, right before a jaguar crashed into the back of the shaman and pushed him over the platform at the top of the pyramid.
The man tumbled a long long way.
But Jack didn’t have time to watch. He was already sprinting to the south while using more of his dwindling Ki to create a wall of earth, even as he healed himself.
He lost sight of the eagle and couldn’t be certain of its fate.
By the time he had made his way clear of the forces amassed against him to the south, he had both good and bad news. The good news was he had made it past them, the bad news was a full fifty warriors remained on his tail. And, as always, the Ripperkah moved fast.
He just had time to notice that Jaguar sprinting next to him, when the Ripperkah roared in anger as they closed in.
“Screw this, if you want to live, Jag, stick with me.” Then, using the last of his mystic strength, Jack created a tunnel into the earth. Whether the jaguar tumbled in, or leapt in on its own accord, proved difficult to tell.
They both landed on the dusty floor of the underground sphere he had created and before the Ripperkah could press their attack, be closed the circle above them, which instantly plunged them into darkness.
The jaguar roared as it circled him in the blackness.
“Oh boy, this isn’t exactly how I had seen this day going.”
To be continued next Monday
December 1, 2014
Jack wasn’t sure if seeing the giant army mobilizing against the forces of man made him regret or reinforced his choice to set off on his own. Even though he remained in his serpent form, he had limited telepathic control over the jungle eagle that transported him. He asked the eagle to take him down for a better look at what he and his allies faced.
Gone was any premise that this would be a battle of man against man. The Ripperkah Xemmoni had captured and controlled dinosaurs and other beasts that Jack didn’t even begin to recognize. Some of these beasts were ridden like domesticated mounts, while other thrashed in massive cages and roared their anger out against the stark flat desert sands. Still others drew large siege equipment and oversized wagons full of supplies.
How they figured they would be able to transport these items uphill through some of the roughest terrain Jack had ever experienced, remained a mystery to him.
As far as the Ripperkah went, the brightly colored and tattooed men stretched into the thousands. Some of the men had painted themselves in blood or created huge red symbols over their bodies. The Xemmoni also bristled with edged weapons and bits of scaled armor. With the Ripperkah, he also saw a smattering of what he guessed was both Caradon and Glooms warriors.
How Mythcul’s village of maybe a hundred warriors could hope to hold out stayed beyond his understanding. At best he would suggest they hide, although he doubted such a plan would go over well with their warrior culture.
He tried to sigh, but found such things harder to do in snake form. But then an idea hit him. The one thing he didn’t see in the army below was any defined leader or at least not one that stood out for him. This gave him an idea.
They must have all but emptied out their city, or whatever the hell they have, he mused. If the city is emptied, I might be able to cause more trouble for these bastards there. Delay supply lines and maybe even kill their leader. Maybe if I strike the head, the body will die.
Feeling renewed determination, he had the eagle take him onward. Their enemy’s trail certainly wasn’t difficult to follow, and the eagle made good time. An hour later he they came upon the city, which appeared to have been built around a desert oasis. High stone walls surrounded even higher pyramids resembling the pictures he had seen of Mayan structures. More stone buildings pressed into the sky surrounded by palm trees and other thick fauna.
He took the eagle in closer. Women and what were probably slaves, outnumbered the men by at least ten to one, but some warriors were still present. He took the eagle in for another swoop over the city in hopes of locating what might be a building that would house their leaders.
That was when an arrow struck the eagle and with a loud cry it began to plummet into the center of the stone city.
To be continued next Monday