November 23, 2015
Jack gazed down at where his two companions remained bound and paralyzed next to a growing pile of fire wood that he guessed the Angry Ones tribe was intending to use to cook them both alive.
“I can’t move my mouth, but I must scream,” Jack said under his breath.
Dylla’s musical voice said, “What’s that, my big handsome Stalwart? You are thinking again about the downfalls of this one man rescue attempt and have decided to allow these two darksiders their fate and wish to explore what the forest has to offer…starting with me.”
Her clinging green hair shimmered as she spoke and Jack wondered not for the first time, if he could count on any assistance from her in the upcoming battle. “If you have any final preparations, please make them and any help you can give me will be appreciated.”
She looked the other way, patted a small owl, and acted as those he hadn’t uttered a word.
With a sigh, Jack got the half dozen wooden spears he had readied and leaned them against a large tree next to his oversized battle axe. “These guys are about to learn why you shouldn’t mess with a follower of Yig in the middle of a forest.”
He allowed himself a moment to focus on his Earthen serpent lord, Yig. He felt a grounding mix with an energy that flowed up into his body. A power of ancient potency enveloped him. With a shout, he raised his hands up and jets of earth erupted in the center of the Angry Ones’ camp. The primitive pre-men possessed huge lumbering bodies, but even these were tossed and flung about as the ground rippled and exploded under them.
Before the tribesmen had a chance to recover, his fingers pointed to the trees and their branches descended upon the cannibals. Forming elongated fingers, the branches clawed and tore at their flesh. Some were lifted into the trees where their bodies fell prey to more assaults.
Others, however, were regrouping. Brutal shouts ripped from barrel chests. Rock crested clubs hammered and chopped at the branches fighting them back. One large orange haired mannish thing spied Jack and pointed his way, while a roar gathered the remaining Angry Ones’ attentions. As one, they grabbed up more weapons and headed Jack’s way. He figured they looked to be over twenty strong.
Without wasting a moment, Jack grabbed his first spear and sent it down into the center of their ranks. A satisfying thud was followed by a scream. His other spears quickly followed the first, but he only had a chance to throw two more before they were on him.
Jack had the advantage of being at the crest of the forested hill and split the head of the first opponent that reached him. He cut down a second and then a third, before one of the huge cannibals bowled him over.
Blows rained down on him and only his protection from Yig kept them from being life ending attacks. Rolling to the side, his axe took off the leg of one of them at the knee. Jack blocked another descending blow at the cost of having his arm go numb. He did manage to get one of his feet under him and with a yell lunched himself at a lower branch of the mighty tree his weapons had rested against.
Since the tree was still under his control, he willed the branch to lift him high into the top of the forest. Looking down, he saw the beast-men readying their spears, but when his eyes traveled back across the clearing what surprised him more was seeing no sign of the two men he’d come to rescue. Neither they nor Dylla was anywhere to be seen.
Spears came his way, but he used the remaining strength of his spell to have the tree’s branches move in chaotic circles, which blocked the onslaught. Next he sent the branches down into the tribesmen. They screamed and fought back, but when four more members of their group fell, the remainder fled throwing guttural curses over their shoulders as they did so. It didn’t please Jack to see that one of the survivors was the orange haired leader.
Just as the last ebbs of his Control Nature spell ebbed away, he had the tree lower him to the earth. He picked up his extra spears and headed into the Angry Ones camp. It didn’t appear to be their home as much as a cooking pit, which made Jack wonder if Orange Head could be returning with reinforcements.
He dispatched a few cannibals too injured to escape, but focused on where his two allies had been bound. Upon closer inspection, even the ropes that held them were gone. He touched the tree they had been bound to.
This makes no sense. How could they have been taken so quickly if they had been bound to a tree? He thought to himself.
“Looking for something?” Dylla mocked from behind him.
Whipping around, he saw her smug form angled in a pose that left her sparse cover of leaves requiring little imagination. “Did you do something?”
“Oh course I did, silly man. Rescuing them was an easy matter. I was prepared to rescue you too, but watching you work proved much more fun.” Moving closer, she ran her hand down his chest. “You have remarkable skills. I bet you are good at a lot of things.”
“Could you please let me know where my allies are?”
She smiled. “I’ll do better than that. I’ll take you to them. I figured you would ask for that, so I took them to my den. You’ll like it there, its verrrrrryyyyyy cozy.”
Then, before he could argue, Jack felt the world spiral into a blur of green as once against his body was magically transported through the forest.
To be continued next Monday
November 9, 2015
He awoke with a goodly amount of attractive female cleavage hovering over his face. In most cases this would not be an undesirable situation, but when one isn’t sure where he was or who crouched near him, it loses some of its appeal.
“What the hell just happened?”
The forest female drew back. Some leaves fell from her already immodest covering leaving her looking more like a voluptuous naked woman with a few twigs and leaves stuck to her than anything close to being clothed.
Undaunted, she moved back toward him and brushed her fingers over his chest. “I have used the powers of the forest to transport us. There is much more about the forest I could teach you,” he purred.
Jack tried to sit up without bowling her over. “If I remember correctly, we’re here because you said two of my companions are about to be eaten.”
“Oh, you are no fun. We probably still have a few hours before the Angry Ones start preparing them for dinner.” Her long hair shimmered where it fell across her shoulders. Each time he looked at her, it appeared to be a different color—sometimes blonde, other times red, and quite often green.
He just stared at her until she stood up and withdrew a few feet away. He watched her, watch him, as he regained his footing.
Yet as soon as he stood, she cuddled up to him again. “My, you are a strong one. I don’t see many males traveling through my forest as impressive as you.”
He fumbled to create distance between them. “Do you have a name?”
“Oh yes. Many call me the flower of the forest, but one of my names that would be easier for you to pronounce would be Dylla.”
“Great, now I must admit that you are a lovely woman, but I’m the kind of guy that can’t really relax and enjoy the finer things in life if I know my allies could be getting devoured at any moment, so could you lead me to where they’re being held?”
She backed up and regarded him as she folded her arms under her almost bare breasts. “I wouldn’t be in such a rush to head there if I were you. As many as sixty Angry Ones have gathered. Aren’t they both evil anyway? Perhaps you should just leave them to their fate.”
“If you wanted to leave them to their fate, why would you bother to bring me here?”
She looked away and picked up and small mole. It chirped as she petted its furry head. “I thought it was obvious that I fancied you. But it seems you are more interested in getting yourself killed than having a little fun.”
“I’m interested in many things,” Jack began, while straightening his weapons and gear. “But I think rescuing my allies in chief among them”
“Well, you will probably just get yourself killed. The Angry Ones use blow darts which are covered in poison.”
“Poison tends to not affect me much these days. I’m one with Yig and he provides for his followers.”
She tilted her head and gazed at him with renewed interest. “So you are of the forest as well? Interesting…” her voice had returned to sultry mode.
“Which is again something we can discus later…”
“Very well. I shall let you prove your worthiness. Follow along.”
He tried not to stare at her nimble departing form, but didn’t resist for too long.
* * *
Half an hour later found them looking down at a primitive camp of mud covered freakish creatures. There were close to men, but he wouldn’t have labeled them as such.
Large squares heads sat on bulky shoulders. Clothes remained sparse, but each of the half-man things had painted their bodies in mud and charcoal giving them a dark filthy appearance. Many had attempted to make dark outlines of skeletons over their gray bodies. Besides the blow guns, most carried crude spears and clubs.
Shadowknife and Stalker were both tied to a tree in the middle of a circle of low huts. Neither moved and Jack guessed they remained paralyzed. Before them many of the Angry Ones stayed busy stacking a giant pile of firewood.
Turning toward Dylla, he saw her looking tense and stern. In a low voice he asked, “You have any ideas?”
“Yes, we go back and sample some of the lovely nectars the flowers provide me.”
Jack groaned and looked back down at the two bound men. “This is going to suck.”
To be continued next Monday
November 2, 2015
“I hate to say it after we’ve been through so much and with our allies still out in the forest,” Jack started, “but it’s nice to have a quiet night sitting by the fire without the darksiders creeping around.” Looking over at Tynilia, he added, “no offence.”
She smiled, “None taken, because I know exactly what you mean. Believe me, you don’t know the half of what an ass Stalker can be. Shadowknife alright, but hanging out with any Xemmoni leaves me edgy.”
“I agree with you,” Huth said, while tossing another log onto the already raging fire. Despite its size, the blaze struggled to dispel not only the building chill, but the enfolding darkness.
“I’m concerned over them being gone for so long though,” Jack muttered, “But not half as concerned over what might be happening to Vel.”
Vel-Linna’s seizure had lasted a good two minutes, but when it finished she was back to her staring into nothingness. After a while, it grew too eerie to watch her in the darkness and the three of them have moved her over to the sleeping area Jack had cleared out.
Her flesh was clammy and covered with sweat when they had laid her down. The poor woman had let them recline her onto the furs, but her eyes had remained open. Her endless stare gave him a chill and they had returned to the fire.
Tynilia played with a small stick, which held a smoking ember as she spoke. Her eyes glowed yellow in the darkness. “Keep in mind, my brave friends of Yig that we folks that embrace Darkness might prefer to hunt at night and if they found us a good meal it might take a while to carry it back through the forest.”
No one replied to her statement and the silence was only disturbed by the low hum of insects and the crackling fire.
It was Huth that broke the quiet. Since he could finally converse with the others, he seemed more interested in being heard. “What will we do if they fail to return? All the known lands count on our success and we have already become delayed. With Vel-Linna in such a state, we have difficult choices ahead. I just want to make it clear that I will refuse to leave her behind. I shall carry her if I have to.”
Jack rubbed his temples. “I’m not much of a ‘leave someone behind kind of guy.’ Besides, even in her current state, she still saved us all for the Dead God. Nope, she’ll be coming with us. Maybe her fever will break and we can all catch a break,” he tried to smile.
The group fell into a melancholy silence again. A pained groan came from Vel-Linna, which didn’t improve anyone’s spirits.
Huth shifted positions. “I should probably check on her.” He was just starting to stand up when they all heard a movement from outside of camp. It sounded like a stirring of leaves.
A moment later one of the most beautiful females Jack had ever witnessed sauntered into the firelight. Her body was covered with a few strategically placed plants of vibrant colors and little else. Long flowing hair graced her like a golden waterfall and her face could have made a goddess jealous. Despite her wild nature, she walked more like a stripper heading onto stage than a creature of the forest.
For once no language barrier existed for Jack was able to understand her words when she said, “You need not fear me, which you should appreciate for there is little that remains benign within my forest of late.” Her sudden appearance had left them all stunned, which gave the beautiful woman a moment to regard each of them in turn.
Her gaze settled on Jack. “Are there two men of suspect morality part of your tribe?”
“Ah, yes,” her looks proved more than enough to leave Jack fumbling for words. “They were out trying to gather us some food.”
“Hunting my creatures, you mean.” Her eyes blazed green for a moment, then chilled. “Your hunters have become the hunted and like most hunted things may soon become a meal for the Angry Ones.”
“The Angry Ones?” Tynilia said, trying to wrest the woman’s attentions away from Jack. It didn’t work.
“Yes they are the eaters of man flesh among other atrocities. Your men will perish without aid. I can only take one of you with me. You,” she pointed a slim finger at Huth, “stay with the infected one and try to ease her suffering.”
She pointed at Tynilia.
Jack’s mate took a step forward. “Hold it right there, you half naked bit-”
But her words became lost in a whirlwind of motion. Jack’s body twirled until he felt his existence slipping away. Soon he had become one with the molecules of the forest and his camp became lost to him. Darkness overcame his senses and he knew no more.
To be continued next Monday