July 27, 2015
Jack’s body ached from two dozen wounds, but his mind felt worse. Yes, they had done the near impossible and struck at The Darken army and made it back to tell the tale. Yet as Tynilia’s small body slumbered next to his, he found himself unable to find sleep.
He had just done as much damage as he could hope to do. They had done the best they could do, but it remained nowhere near enough. They might be able to trick Darken and ruin his plans and hit his forces, but in the end it was still thousands versus hundreds.
He rolled over onto his side. Besides the obvious overwhelming forces, backed by their own use of Magick, they still had herds of dinosaurs. They wouldn’t need the train that his team had destroyed, something could be rigged or Vile could even just march his troops through the brush.
Besides all this, there was Vile Darken himself. It might be a fight that could go either way if Vile, own his own, took on Jack and every ally he had. The world devouring sorcerer was beyond powerful. Jack had fought his other incarnations before and had never come close to defeating them. If anything, this world’s incarnation’s power far surpassed his own world’s version of the multi-dimensional menace.
So the question remained, what was there, if anything, he could do? He and his allies had made strong moves, had their share of luck and successes, but they were running out of ideas and even with all they had done, they might have optimistically taken out ten percent of his army.
This isn’t even my world, but I tried so hard, I can’t let these noble people fall. But if I can’t even save my world from Vile, how can I hope to save a world that’s not my own?
Then he thought about the world he was on—a majestic planet full of wonder and Magick. In all the fantasy novels he had read as a child, there was always some quest the hero went on. Whether it was to find a Magick sword or gem or perhaps gain the aid of some remote barbarian tribe, the hero always had to perform some task or quest.
Not wasting another moment, he set off to find Shadowknife. He knew the Darcarre would be up for the night was their time and he would need an interpreter.
* * *
An hour later found him and the Darcarre in Mythcul’s tent. Jack tried to wait patiently while Shadowknife explained to the head shaman of Yig what it was Jack sought.
Mythcul looked at Jack with a frown, but then addressed the dark one. When the old man had finished speaking, Shadowknife sighed and then looked at Jack.
“He has an answer, but none of us are going to like it.”
“There is a quest that many have gone on and all have failed. Even the Xemmoni have attempted it in the past, but over the centuries after losing so many good and strong warriors both Stalwart and Xemmoni have let the quest fade from knowledge and become little more than a campfire tale.”
“But what is it?”
“The isle of Molten Dragons.”
Swing back by next Monday and see if Jack takes up the Quest.
July 20, 2015
The four of them prepared for the upcoming chaos as best as they were able. Nervousness emanated off Tynilia in perceptible waves. Jack squeezed her shoulder which caused her small face to look up into his. She seemed so little and delicate, but Jack knew he would have perished on this harsh world long ago without her aid. Despite about to be teleporting into the middle of the enemy’s camp, she had painted her face in dark feline patterns and her lean body was decked out with dark feathers and black clothes, which did little to hide her natural features.
Across from them stood the ebony form of Shadowknife and a reluctant warrior of Yig who obviously didn’t wish to have anything to do with the dark Xemmoni. His name was Flintocktossa, but Jack had taken to calling him Flint, which elevated him to having the easiest name to pronounce of any of the Stalwarts he had met on this bizarre world.
“We ready?’ Shadowknife asked.
“I don’t think I’ll ever be ready,” Tynilia grumbled.
Jack clutched his giant axe more tightly. “Yeah, pull the trigger.”
A brief feeling of weightlessness hit him, but a second latter his feet crashed into a dusty section of forest. Every tree had been killed all around him, but Jack barely noticed—he was too busy taking in everything else.
To the west at least a hundred massive dinosaurs were penned in my different giant fences. The poles of each fence were constructed by the huge trees of the forest. Armies of Ripperkah clustered in big scarlet groups. Red cloth did little to cover their bright tattoos and most of the men carried more blades than they had fingers. Their grimy bodies darted in sharp angles as they tossed dice and tore huge sections of meat off spits of roasting flesh.
On the far side of the camp, Jack saw a towering tent of darkness. It had a shimmering purple sheen and hovered in space like it occupied this dominion and yet another.
Shadowknife and Flint had arrived a few paces away. So far the Darken Army remained too self-absorbed to notice them.
“By the dark cat,” Tynilia whispered. “There are so many of them.”
“That’s why we need to start whittling them down,” Jack Replied.
Shadowknife and Flint had made their way over to where Jack and Tynilia crouched down behind a pile of gleaming dinosaur bones. Shadowknife spoke. “But why are they making this camp so permanent? What are they building?”
Looking to the north for the first time, they all spotted it and let out a collective gasp.
Rising up the mountain, to the north, was something that shouldn’t exist or at least not on this world full of magic and fantastic beasts. Several thousands of what had to be slaves worked on laying down a railroad track. It arced around the side of the mountain instead of going straight up, but it we nearly half complete.
Jack jerked his head back and since he knew what he was looking for, he spotted a huge mass if train engines and cars covered by layer and layers of crimson cloth. On either side were titanic piles of railroad ties and track.
“He has enough track to make it all the way to the Tezcatlipoca camp if he has the patience for it,” Jack whispered.
“Wait Jack,” Tynilia hissed, “What are you talking about?”
He took a second and remembered he was the only one of this planet, with the exception of Vile, who had ever seen a train and-
Shouting broke out. They’d been seen.
“Focus on the tracks!” Jack ordered with a point of his hand. “I’ll get the train.”
Then the battle was on. Jack sent his most powerful spell Mold Nature at the train. The ground buckled and the fell away as a huge pit open up underneath it. The engines and several cars, plummeted into the pit he created, but a good two thirds of the cars remained on level ground. Jack struggled hard to change this, but things were going to hell around him.
Flint had some Earth attacks of his own and had focused on the tracks riding up the mountain. Thousands of man hours were washed away in a moment when giant sections of track came toppled down the mountain side crushed everything in its path.
Shadowknife and Tynilia concentrated on taking out more immediate threats and used their dark spells to blast anything that drew in too close, but as hundreds of Ripperkah took up the fight, this became impossible.
The group battled on as Jack struggled to destroy more of the train. They looked like they might have had a chance until the dinosaurs got involved.
Tynilia screamed in horror as a brutal T-rex broke through its own lines and came at them from the north. One moment Flint fought on, the next only his severed feet remained to tell he was ever in that spot. The T-rex roared a challenge and then sped at the rest of the small group.
Shadowknife didn’t need to be told it was time to leave and Jack saw the Xemmoni blink out of existence.
Jack could hear Vile Darken’s roars of anger only seconds before Tynilia rushed into his arms and teleported them both to safety.
To be continued next Monday
July 13, 2015
It proved far easier to teleport to where he left his fellow warriors of Yig than to find them once he, Tynilia, and Shadowknife returned to the camp where they’d been forced to fight the world eater, Vile Darken.
But Jack was not without skills and once he returned to the forest there wasn’t much that escaped him. He soon found a faint trail and followed it to the new encampment built by the Yig natives.
Lean-tos and sleeping platforms could just be seen as they interweaved through the dense forest. The warriors had kept busy creating spears and other weapons. A hush fell over the camp as Jack passed through the dappled sunlight and entered the small clearing in the center of the new camp.
Most of the men eyed him without kindness, but Mythcul’s face broke into a wide smile and the old shaman embraced Jack in a hardy hug. This appeared to relax the others, but as always, their language barrier slowed down his bonding with the tribe.
Using Tynilia as a communicator, they each filled each other in. Mythcul confirmed that Vile had held up his army instead of bringing it through the canyon they had prepared for him.
“Well hell,” Jack started. “Marching five thousand men and a few dozen dinosaurs through that canyon would be hard enough. Does he somehow think he can march them up a cliff?”
Without looking his way, Tynilia said, “Who knows what he is capable of doing or even thinks he’s capable of doing?”
Jack paused for a moment, but then a smile crept over his face.
“What?” Tynilia said. “What sort of crazy idea is flowing through your head this time?”
“The way I see it, there’s plenty we don’t know about what he’s doing and it would help us to find out. Besides turn about is fair play and I don’t even care about playing fair.”
“What are you talking about?” She asked.
Shadowknife spoke up. “I have to admit, I’m feeling a bit confused myself.”
“How many people can you each teleport?”
“I can do myself and one other,” Tynilia said.
“As can I,” Shadowknife added.
“It will be enough,” Jack started. “I say we teleport on the north side of their camp. Find out what they might be doing. Sabotage it as best we can. Bring the hammer down on them with our spells and then take off.”
“Oh Jack, that sounds very risky,” she said.
Shadowknife rubbed his dark chin. “True, but when you are outnumbered more than a hundred to one, you need to start taking risks and being sly. I agree to this plan.”
“Good, it looks like Huth is still wounded, ask Mythcul to find an extra man to go with you. I’ll go with Tynilia. Make any preparations you need. We will strike at midnight.”
To be continued next Monday