February 23, 2015
Jack figured night had fallen over the land, for everything around him was black save for the smattering of stars he could make out through the bars that spread twenty feet over his head. The pit he’d found himself in was damp, clammy, and cold. Jack was pissed off before he had even gotten to his feet.
In his younger days, he might have started shouting at the Stalwarts of Tezcatlipoca, but with experience comes wisdom. Taking a deep breath, he let it out slowly.
Putting the follower of an Earth God into a pit, hmmmm. I guess my only issue will be how I choose to escape. But then he sensed something. Some type of enchantment had been placed on the surrounding earth. He might be able to overcome it, but it wouldn’t be easy and his efforts could very well be detected.
That leaves becoming a serpent, he thought to himself. However, the walls looked rough and didn’t appear to be the type of surface that a snake could climb. Jack listened for a moment, hoping to get some clue as to what might be happening out there.
He could hear voices from time to time and talking in the distance, but no clamor or the sounds of some huge event reached his ears. At least what’s happening to Tynilia seemed to be taking place behind closed doors, but that could be a bad thing too.
Deciding not to malinger any longer, Jack transformed himself into the biggest snake he could. Jack had mostly favored smaller snakes when he made his change, and becoming a giant serpent taxed his skills in ways he hadn’t anticipated. Decreasing one’s mass appeared to be much easier than increasing it. Still he fought to grow as long as possible. After what seemed like eight minutes of discomforting effort, he’d become an anaconda of considerable size.
The task of getting out still loomed before him. Snakes were not meant to balance on their tails and Jack learned this quickly. After several failed attempts to stretch his body toward the bars, he stopped to reassess his position and that was when a group of warriors appeared at the top of the pit.
One of them was the man Tynilia had been promised to, Lithoca. The shaman that had knocked Jack unconscious stood there, as well as a tall man tattooed with dark jaguar spots. As usual, the men of Tezcatlipoca favored darker feathers and patterns on their narrow kilts. Wicked looking weapons filled their fists and if the expressions on their faces were any indication, a few of them appeared anxious to use them.
The shaman and Lithoca flung words down at him, but he couldn’t hear them as a snake so he returned to his human form while those above waited impatiently.
When he had returned to his natural body, the taller warrior spoke down to him in a tongue he understood. “Man of Yig, you have disrespected Lithoca, our village, and now violated more of our laws by seeking to escape.”
Jack brushed his clothes off for a moment and forced them to wait. After clearing his throat he said, “The way I see it, I came here with the best of intentions. You assaulted me, hurt my friend, and then stole my possessions. Then, by withholding my freedom, you have all but declared war on me and mine. I am not from your world, so perhaps I should just return to mine due to this ill treatment and then laugh from afar while the Darken tears your villages apart one by one.”
The others hurled more insults at him, but he might as well have stayed in snake form, for their words remained past his comprehension.
“We obviously perceive our situations differently, man if Yig. Lithoca, here, sees you as a man that has tainted his bride and seeks your death.”
“I think his issues with Tynilia began long before a met her three days ago. What you should be focusing on is why I have risked my safety and freedom to contact all of you.”
The leader spoke again. “Tynilia has communicated your intent and your plan to help use us to protect your village of Yigglings has received poor response, like ants trapped in amber you seek to draw others into a mess that will only kill them as well.”
“Actually, you got it wrong. I was going to ask the village of Yig followers to help protect your walls, for I believe Darken intends on attacking you first.” It might have been a lie, but the leader quickly communicated what Jack said to the others.
The group above him fell into chaos, but this didn’t distract Lithoca’s hatred for him and the man pointed down at Jack while screaming words of anger.
“Perhaps you speak the truth, perhaps not. In cases like this, we let Tezcatlipoca decide. If the dark one favors you, you will live. If not, your situation will no longer be a concern to…anyone.”
Jack looked up at the man. “And how will Tezcatlipoca be decided this outcome?”
“You will be fighting Lithoca to the death and the outcome will prove the strength of your words.”
“I figured it would be something like that. Might as well toss me a rope, it’s going to be another long night. Oh yeah, and tell Lithoca’s family that they should start digging a grave for him.”
To be continued next Monday
February 16, 2015
After hearing that Tynilia was an outcast from her village, it didn’t help Jack’s mood and despite their night in each other arms, the pair readied their Wyrens for flight in a gloomy silence. Jack collected the Ripperkah weapons worth salvaging. After he’d finished, he dragged their decapitated bodies onto a wood pile, he’d already collected, and lit it ablaze
Once it was lit, he stepped back and stood in silence as it burned. Frogs croaked in a small stream. The forest didn’t care about such transient matters. Its pulsing essence called to him and regenerated his soul. Life and creation grew thick and helped him focus on what was truly important and he rid his mind of imagined evils.
Looking over at Tynilia, he sensed her dark state as she packed up the last of their gear. He moved behind her and let his arms circle her waist. Her muscles tensed and it took him nuzzling her neck with his lips for her to relax. A moment later she seemed to melt in his arms.
Turning to face him, she kissed his mouth. After they broke away, she whispered, “You are so gentle and kind.”
He broke out with a loud chuckle. “Been a long time since anyone has called me gentle.”
“I can’t help but compare you to the other…”
“Incarnation.” He drew away. “I thought we weren’t going to talk about that.”
“Yes, but it roars through my might like a lioness that has lost her cubs.”
He looked at her and smiled. So powerful, but yet so little and delicate. “Let’s go see your village. We might as well get it over with.”
“It won’t be pleasant returning.”
He strapped an extra weapons belt to his waist. “Then it’s a lucky thing I’m heading in with you.”
* * *
The Wyren flight left little time for introspection, for they reached the village of Tezcatlipoca followers quickly. The village itself loomed dark. As he entered, it felt like he’d left the blazing sun behind and night had fallen, but he knew it was just past noon. Black stone and wood combined to make sturdy cabins that belched inky smoke. A twenty foot wall surrounded the entire village, which right away let Jack know that this place looked eight times more defendable than Mythcul’s camp.
Before their Wyren’s feet hit the ground, a crowd had already grown. Shouts started and fingers pointed as Tynilia came into view. Warriors loomed dark and savage. Many had painted themselves up as black jaguars, where the females favored the yellow jaguars with black spots body paint. But genders appeared nearly naked, but made up for this with a multitude of viscous looking weapons.
A giant warrior, that he assumed to be her former betrothed, Lithca, appeared and began screaming at Tynilia is a language Jack couldn’t understand, but the meaning of the words remained clear enough. Soon Tynilia was being pummeled by garbage and things fouler.
Jumping off his Wyren, Jack cried out and waved his hands before the villagers. He reached behind to his mount and went to get the bag of Ripperkah heads, but several men grabbed him and flung him to the Earth.
He tried to struggle to his feet, but a wizened older man, with the look of a shaman about him, dashed forward and slapped the palm of his hand against Jack’s forehead. There was a black flash and then he knew no more.
Return next Monday for the next part of Jack’s Weekly Adventure.
February 9, 2015
Tynilia and Jack spent half the night exploring each other’s bodies and the second half lying in each other’s arms. Jack found her to be a fierce and inventive lover and after only having a female snake for a mate for the last month, it was a refreshing change.
But the morning found her nervous and distant. He wondered if she might feel discomfort over cheating on her lover, but didn’t waste too much time trying to figure out the motivations of a female follower of a dark god that lived on a planet different than his own. Hell, I can’t even figure out normal girls on my own world, what chance would I have with her?
Their parrot/lizard, Wyren mounts appeared to have eaten three of the oak trees while the couple had slept and looked ready to go, which was more than he could say for Tynilia. The young raven haired beauty, fiddled around camp. She stretched a ten minute breakfast into an hour and then looked through her things for another thirty minutes.
Before too long, Jack wished he’d brought a book with him, for what little patience he possessed was evaporating like mists in a desert sun. After another seventeen minutes had passed, Jack said. “Is there something wrong? If it’s because we slept together, I’m sorry, we don’t have to again and can just move on like it didn’t happen, if you like.”
“No, it isn’t that,” she said, without looking up. “The other…ah you, said he didn’t mind if we, um, got to know each other better. I’m more worried over my former mate back at my village, that and the fact that I ran away from him and everyone else I know there.”
“Oh… perhaps I should have been let in on that little secret. I doubt it will make anyone more predisposed to helping me and their rival tribe.”
“Such thoughts had crossed my mind.”
“Perhaps I should go in alone, it might-”
Jack’s words were cut off by the sounds of Tynilia suddenly screaming. Before this set in, he had already discovered the cause, for a evil Bestow headed his way, but his empowered Ki dispelled it before it reached his body, which was more than he could say for the javelin that followed and embedded itself five inches into his arm met his left shoulder. One more sped at each of them, but both Stalwarts managed to avoid these flung weapons.
Then with a series of brutal cries and spitting curses in a language Jack had little hope of understanding, five Ripperkah raced out of the forest toward the pair. Like before, these savage men had bodies painted in blood that matched their scarlet feathers and thick tribal tattoos.
Jack’s new allies had supplied him with many weapons including a long lance for when he road the wyrens. Snatching it up from where it leaned against a tree, he drove it into the middle of the lead Xemmoni. It screamed as its own momentum drove it through his chest. Jack raced to his right as the impaled man stumbled and fell. The length of the pike hit another Ripperkah in the thigh and he tumbled face first into the dirt.
Looking back, he saw Tynilia had disappeared. “Flippin’ figures,” he grumbled, as he dropped the oversized spear and drew a war axe off his back. “At least I finally gathered some real weapons on this blood washed world.”
The Xemmoni closest to him, used its Body Weaponry Bestow to transform his hands into jagged shafts of bone. He might as well have not bothered for Jack cut through the villain’s right arm and deep into his skull with a single hack of his axe.
The fallen Xemmoni would never regain his footing, for his head went falling off his shoulders with Jack’s second swing.
Tynilia had appeared behind one of the remaining Ripperkah and dispatched it before he had known she was there.
The last Xemmoni looked at them both with wide-eyed horror and attempted to flee. Tynilia twin daggers slowed him down, but it was one of their own javelins, flung by Jack, that took the bastard out.
Wiping the blood from her arms, Tynilia said, “You fought very well, perhaps even better than your incarnation on this world.”
“I’ve had a lot of practice,” he said in a gruff voice, while he healed her and then himself.
“I don’t think the other you can heal people either.”
“Can we stop talking about him, please?” He kicked the decapitated head toward another of the bodies. “Help me gather these heads. Perhaps if we present them to the leaders of your village, it will help let them know how serious we are.”
“Perhaps,” she said slowly, “but I should let you know that Lithoca, the man I was promised to, is the chief’s son.”
“This just keeps getting better and better.” Jack said as the blood from the next decapitation sprayed over his new leather pants.
To be continued next Monday
February 2, 2015
For multiple reasons, Tynilia didn’t have any problems traveling through the night. As a worshipper of the dark jaguar God Tezcatlipoca, Jack figured the young woman could not only see in the darkness, but preferred it. He didn’t feel as inspired. His body ached from a few dozen slowly healing wounds and he hadn’t slept for nearly two days.
His new umber colored cloak whipped around him as he adjusted himself on the back of the feathered lizards they road. These wide-winged beasts looked like a cross between a parrot and an iguana. Two long and thick scaled legs enabled the creature to stand, much like normal bird, but the front legs spread into muscular wings. The throat and head remained reptilian and gave Jack some solace, for both he and his Patron Yig favored cold blooded beasts. Their feathers were a bright red-orange, which wouldn’t go far in keeping them concealed and might have been another point in favor of night travel.
As the cold winds bit at him, Jack wondered if their night flight would ever end. Hugging his cloak tighter, he leaned in over his mount and tried to find his spiritual center. He let the beating of the wings lull and calm his racing thoughts, thoughts that lingered on not only the fate of this world, which didn’t appear good, but his own as well that could, if anything, be in worse shape.
He wanted to be on his own planet, fighting for its safety and freedom, but how could he turn his back on these people in the middle of their crisis, right before they were to fight a battle that could decide the fate of their world?
Such thoughts plagued and fought within his mind to the point where when the sun rose, he had almost forgotten such things remained possible. It brightened his spirits to see his swamp eagle coasting on the air over his mount’s right wing. Also seeing that they had made it across the desert and mountains passed below them, didn’t hurt his mood.
After only a few more minutes of flying, Tynilia took them down into a small valley studded with clusters of what looked similar to oak trees on his world.
She cast him a look over her thin shoulder, dismounted, and preceded to brush the dust from her riding cloak.
He did the same and then took a few steps toward her.
She spoke first. “We’ll have to care for the mounts, but we’ll rest here during the daylight hours.”
“How far are we from your people?”
“No far really, but you need rest. The priests of Tezcatlipoca are not the type of folk that one wants to deal with when you aren’t at your best.”
He removed his cloak and started brushing down the new leather jerkin and pants he’d been provided. “So we’ll be meeting them tonight. At least I won’t be showing up barefoot with only tattered shorts on. These clothes fit well, by the way, even the boots.”
“They should,” she said while adverting her eyes. “They belong to the other…you.”
“I figured as much. What was your relation with this world’s ah…me.”
The color rising in her cheeks answered the question before she spoke. “I respect all he has done to help rid this world of the horror of the Darken. While we are organizing here, he will be leading our desert forces out behind Vile’s giant army.”
“Good for him,” he said, while a grin spread across his face.
She avoided looking his way and focused on her saddlebags. “We only have one tent, so I’ll expect you behave yourself or you might show up at the dark ones camp missing a few important parts. I’ll set up the tent, why don’t you get the fire going.”
His smirk remained on his face, but at least the day was improving. When his eagle dropped a rabbit as his feet it only made things better.
* * *
Later, after they had feed themselves and taken care of their mounts, the two Stalwarts fidgeted in the tent. Despite his exhaustion, Jack had a hard time letting sleep claim him. Having the lean form of Tynilia moving on a few feet from him didn’t make anything easier.
“I can feel your tension,” she said in a softer voice than usual. “It impedes my ability to sleep.”
“Sorry. There’s just a lot on my mind.”
“Yes, our quest is not for the timid.”
“Other things concern me as well.” He put his arms behind his head and stared up at the roof of the tent.
Perhaps not understanding his contemplations, she said, “Does it concern you that I am the mate of your incarnation?”
“You never said, but I had guessed that much.” He laughed. “I suppose that if we slept together it wouldn’t be cheating on your part, because you’d still be sleeping with the same man, just a different version of him.”
She rolled to her side and ran her fingers down his chest. “I was thinking the same thing.” She snuggled in closer as her fingers found his manhood and quickly brought it to life. “Besides I am very curious as to how you might differ and yet be the same.”
He grabbed her curvaceous form within his arms and said, “Well then, let’s figure that out.”
To be continued next Monday