~Ziron, Lord of the Lancers
The heavy breathing is sensed by every nocturnal life, their sights staying clear from the runner. Knowing not the reason, the escapee's fear nevertheless remains all too tell-tale. Going back to their foraging life, none gives heed to the very end.
Utterly shaken by all coming to pass, the lone Orc can only recall his infant joy born from the womb of success. The merchant caravan hours earlier were doomed to a certain voyage, its one way trip pointing towards imminent rape, murder and despair. Fools are meant to be fodder for the strong, a sea of blood completed with heads, limbs and enslaved maids no longer chaste justifying the Orcish pride.
All believe this foulest race to be notorious for raiding tactics, they say his people are cursed with nothing else of value. Cowardice is the only trait rivalling the merit of superior strength, this is nothing more than a lie. A rally in numbers will always work, but only if their numbers are lesser. This has to be the greatest insult known to the Homm’Kur.
If baleful leers and lustful cocks are to be his people’s finest weapons, it is because these damn Terrans deserve it. Driven from their inheritance, the only thing unnatural would be not shagging any of the Terran whores. At least these whores have always been given the mercy and honour to bear their offspring, for womenfolk belonging to the Homm’Kur has died out due to pestilence. No doubt a dastardly ploy hatched by those oathbreakers.
And then there’s that thrice damned Demon stumbling before his sight and of his brudders. This is a plaything, all whispered amongst themselves gleefully. Flay him, roast him, feed him to the beasts and give his entrails to the birds. Then…
Weapons were flashed, blood was spilt upon the nightly earth. Alas there could only be one victor. Forty brudders against one single lamb, orbs of scarlet red unveiled a ravenous wolf instead. A being hailing from Azrael must be him. If not, why then would he be capable of horrifying feats only the Great Abyss himself is able to?
Sensing unbridled chaos and absolute power coursing within that animal, the crazed killer has etched inside Bork the real meaning behind terror. Corrosive fear becoming affirmation, nary a survivor could been seen from his fallen brudders brutally gutted. Only one question remains for Bork. Flight or fight? Bork chose flight.
“Daynjer pass, daynjer pass now oredee…”
Stamina caving in at last, he pauses to take a breather. The coast should be clear by now, whatever distance covered is already far enough for comfort.
“Fak! Fak! Fak! Faaaak!!!!”
Unleashing a barrage of cursing, Bork’s lethargy warps into anger. How dare this hooded bastard smears the Orcish pride! How dare this hooded bastard raise his sword against the Great Children! How dare him! How dare him! This is a mockery of the highest level, the greatest insult and blasphemy!
Yet there’s a time for curses, a time for seeking allies. Glancing towards northbound, a trail of red smoke raising only means one thing. This is not any camp belonging to travellers foolhardy, but an encampment fortified by his other brudders. Bork will tell them what happened, surely all his brudders will take up arms. If a Raidband numbering forty strong wasn’t enough, then surely at least hundreds will do. This is why Warbands exist. To defend the Orcish pride once push comes to shove.
A sudden rustling sound sows panic in Bork, his heart racing like a galloping Wrug. Chilling fear seeps into his spine, the only sight greeting him is a fox pursuing its prey.
“Stoolpit rabitses, stoolpit fuxes. Nau me wan sum preetee elfee beyotchees.”
Five parts annoyance and five parts getting hard, Bork decides to vent his sexual cravings on any unfortunate Elven lass. Even if one cannot be found, surely some hapless Terran whore will suffice. For now. Then fear grips him like jaws of a wolf sinking into its unlucky prey.
Bork slowly turns around, the inevitable marking its arrival. With eyes still wholly tainted in blood and murder staring back, merciless steel laced with azure blue sliced into his chest. Searing pain exploding from within, Bork’s world abruptly goes black.
Lindel, a modest city famed in the eyes of bounty hunters. Rooted within the Eagle Horn and protected by the much respected Red Lions, folly of underestimation may seem tempting at first. Yet payment would surely be demanded from every fool, the Kalaran dream being this militia's solid rock. They say that meritocracy is fair and flawless, such is why the Kalarans are so prosperous. Alas, the world has never been fair to anybody and all. If all mortals are born to be slaves, what then is the one thing enslaving them?
Mid-summer is always a season to cheer about, but to him. Children frolicking within shallow fountains is nothing to him, same goes for the womenfolk indulging themselves in idle gossips. Dwarven requiem of yore ringing aloud, he pays no heed to the sound of anvils struck. No one can understand the Goblins’ looney obsession over their haphazard technology, he doesn’t give a care. Verbal spats erupting from grocery stores lined at either side, he ignores the sight of flustered female Halflings on the verge of strangling every male Kobold alive. Occasional sightings of the enigmatic Elves unquestioned by prudent folks, he supressed an urge to cause trouble.
A bundle slung over the shoulder, this is to be his prize. His left hand resting upon the pommel of his longsword sheathed, this is to be his solace. A settled life is one he despises, innocuous greetings he desires not. All he wants is a bulging purse and some entertainment, whores and drinks would be atop his list if not for a growling stomach.
And to think I have to wait for three days without taking a shit or piss.
Continuing his silent walk, the sellsword ignores the numerous glances cast to his direction. Attention neither straying left nor to the right, a single storey building looms into view. Bells of copper sounding their chimes, the adventurer pushes open a wooden door plastered with mould. Shedding a façade covered by his cowl, the indomitable wolf greets a bespectacled old man with the briefest nod.
Lazy bastard trying to act hardworking…
"Taking or ending?" glares the old man much to his satisfaction. Apparently, pushing this old fart’s glasses has served the purpose. As the mercenary is prepared to disclose his answer, a sudden flash of thought races across his mind. Understanding what he himself is capable of, the predator within is promptly restrained.
Bummer to count himself lucky. At least there’s no excuse for me to kill him without that bastard’s Geis.
"Evidence? Target?" retorts the crusty coot.
You fucking jackass. Be thankful that I’m not about to shove a boot down your arse.
"Max Henry. Here's the evidence."
Flinging the gruesome package unceremoniously onto the desk, a decapitated head adorned with shock and terror greets the astounded clerk.
"That's the cunt we're after alright," grins the old man wryly, an impressed whistle blown paying final respects to a dead man’s head rolling off the desk, "Then again, I thought that pretty boy is said to be extremely dangerous.”
“Rape, strangling, blah, blah and blah,” comes a derisive snort, “You ever heard of Rangers and what they do best?”
“Hunting random buggers and striking from behind. I suppose you did just that.”
"Using more than three seconds to end this shitty butterfly would have wasted three hours of my life," sighs the rugged warrior while absently scratching the back of his head, "Offed him with his pants down, that pretty young thing didn’t seem that happy nevertheless."
"You've got a warped sense of jest here, black stud," chortles the old man, his yellowed teeth bared, "Reminds me of my youth. Mark my words, you're not gonna be popular with all the rich missus, but Holy Quintet be damned if you're no wench bait. What's your name by the way, sonny?"
"Aeranath," yawns the Ranger unsightly, "Congratulations for wasting three seconds of my precious life."
“You don’t look natural though…”
"Money or your life please," Aeranath is getting clearly annoyed, his finger tracing doodling patterns on the mortar wall, "You're boring the shit out of me and you’ve proven me right.”
"Okie dokie, I know. Don't be such a grouch. You’re still young, you're in serious need of getting laid," puffing out his cheeks, the clerk tosses into Aeranath’s hand a leather pouch brimming with crowns, "Here's your moolah. Bugger's a jackpot and son of an eel."
Stashing his well-earned keep away, Aeranath slammed the door shut. A resultant boom reverberating down the old man’s spine, a good humoured smile nonetheless accompanies a wry expression.
Brown skin, long ears, sharp features… Half-Elf with Tamurian blood, eh? Doesn’t seem right though with that white hair of his…
Enjoying a hearty meal of grilled beef and creamy corn soup, Aeranath casually tosses a crown at a waiting boy's feet. Ignoring his persistent thanks, the Ranger continues savouring his meal. It has been quite a while since Aerantah has a decent meal, definitely the handsome prize earned is worth every excruciating minute. How long did he have to lie in wait behind shadows of clustered trees? A day or three? Mayhap even one week or beyond. It matters not to him, for the only sight more pleasing than whores, wine and a nice meal combined is beholding final moments belonging to his prey.
Remember this, Aeranath. Once the hunter becomes the hunted, only death awaits. Upon being the Answerer’s wielder, there’s no turning back.
Losing appetite in an instance, Aeranath rises up in full ire. Taking no heed unto curious looks amounting to judgmental derision, he nevertheless mutters his blessing.
Go take some honeycomb and fuck a jackass.
Lesser individuals would have gone hungry in a jiffy, but not to Aeranath. Years of hunting has taught the last True Apostle the importance of physical tolerance, the only thing surpassing fortitude is a mind of steel. Unpleasant memories banished at last, the Ranger can finally cast off his glower. Bearing a wry grin in public has its disadvantages, but at least no one will be that insane to challenge someone armed with a sword.
Every one of us is fated to wear a mask. What is yours, Aera?
Damning past searing him like a lightning bolt knifing through his chest, Aeranath lashes out in anger. A yelp is followed by a whimper, kicking a stray dog do serve a therapeutic purpose after all. Then a loud commotion greets his keen pointed ears.
“"Whatcha lookin' at? Ne'er seen some'un killin' befah’? We fahkin’ dung a old biatch an’ sen’ ah’ stoopit tard to jail! Wee god ahawy cuz’ wee da very best in de business an’ sekuritee ferz uz! Servz dis bitch rite for spillin' al'on us!"
Piss drunk arseholes downing too much cheap booze…
“Murderers, all these people!”
“Do so then!”
“O’ Father above, smite these bloodthirsty men in Your anger!”
Okay, add to that arseholes too retarded to do anything…
Turning his back on the commotion, Aeranath cares not over the fact that he’s nowhere better. Apathy is one thing, disdain for trouble quite another. If every quarrel can be resolved by talking cheap, then he’d like to be everybody’s friend. A casual stroll ignoring children wailing for their mother, it takes one idiotic ox to rile a lone wolf wild and dangerous.
"Hay 'u! A'm talkin' to yer, farkah!"
That’s a good grip and some loud voice. Time to get busy killing and dying.
"What the fuck do you want?"
Vexation briefly giving way to smug satisfaction equally fleeting, Aeranath nevertheless savours his moment of vulgar wit.
"Yer got gutz, 'uh? Lemme tell ye wat 'appen to peepz like ye. See dat beyotch o'er dere?" bellows a burly man, his wild gestures pointing towards where the crowd have parted out of cowering fear. Lifeless eyes of a bloodied woman dressed in black and a white apron dirtied never tugged at the Ranger’s heartstrings, let alone a couple of bawling kids.
"See dat, 'uh? dat kan bee 'u nex!"
Annoying son of a bitch…
Choosing not to betray a single shred of reaction, why should he concern himself with people either dead or nowhere different? People die every day, even this reeking alcoholic. Oral stench invading his nostrils unable to move his heart, Aeranath’s life has always been forged from an icy steel.
Tough luck. You’re barking up the wrong tree.
"I don't give a rat's ass to you, what you've done or whatever dead drunk bullshitting here. Go find something else to wank on and you’ll have your life as a reward," hisses Aeranath, his visage lifted in full view. Formalities promptly done together with a finger shown, he shoves the dishevelled scoundrel away with a forceful hand.
"U dar too turn 'ur bac' on mee? Dy lik'ah dawg!"
A dirge sung by heaven's fury shocking all unto their very core, Aeranath brings forth his inner world. Judgment has been proclaimed, an azure edge utmost deadly and swift leaving the scabbard.
Revelling in the crimson warmth splashed across his cheek, the True Apostle scores his first kill. Booting the skewered dead off his blade, Aeranath spits his contempt onto his fallen foe’s axe. Twirling Fragarach about, its weight, balance and crackling sound reinvigorates the wolf in him.
“Why would a decent being raise his junk against me? He's a fuzzy ape with an equally fuzzy brain after all.”
His statement yet to run its course, Aeranath beckons the remaining quartet.
“I don't always kill people. But when I do, I make sure they stay dead.”
"Yar basterd! Yev gott'us on'to u nao!"
And so begins the hunt…
Keeping his sights open to the surroundings, the lunging thug is to be Aeranath’s second target. With half-muddled anger filling his bloodshot eyes, the Ranger pays back an intoxicated swing of the bardiche with a parry and wide arcing slash. His quarry’s throat sliced cleanly, the True Apostle ups the momentum.
Two down, three to go...
Getting circled behind in spite of martial technique wholly honed, scum number three descends a broadsword swing against Aeranath's exposed back.
Boring as a frigid whore. Die.
Triggering a force unseen within his left hand, the Ranger reaches out for his enemy’s blade. Only blunt force amounting to a pebble hitting hard greets Aeranath’s senses, his third kill’s expression is anything but cheap.
"A simple trick. You can call this turning skin into stone. What a shame to see an idiot's mug."
One stride forward and a hard rap from the pommel against an exposed knee manages to floor the worthless scoundrel, Aeranath can sense two more coming from behind. Gripping the first man’s weapon hand like an eagle’s grasp, a ruffian prone on the ground becomes a ruffian dead on the ground. Hesitation strangling the last two alive, one of them ends up staring downwards at his belly opened up.
A killing blow swift as the wind... shit is getting fast and boring.
Seizing the advantage proffered by the element of shock, Aeranath casually lops off his last victim’s head.
"Red Lions! The Red Lions are coming!"
Thundering boots making tremors known to his ears, Aeranath finds it faintly amusing that nobody is left watching the show. An impressive sight of hardened clowns adopting a phalanx formation greets his view. He sees halberds lowered for battle, helmets of steel and coats of mail complimenting the comedy.
Murderous whims opening up a can of worms, this the Ranger knows. Retaining a vicious grin as he set about correcting his sole mistake, Aeranath chooses to pay mock heed before some pompous idiot by digging his ear.
No action, talk only. Here’s my applause, cretins.
Motherfucker... ain't mortal... an absolute monster...
What’s his name? The leader’s name? Redknapp something, he supposes. There can be only one ending for stupid people baring their arms against him. Aeranath knows that he is born a wolf, only no prey deserves the right to lower its horns and paw the soil. Recalling those final words, the True Apostle finds it ironic that the fodder is right after all. No elk should ever see a wolf as anything but that, let alone a useless bunch embroiled in a cutting vortex of volatile wind.
At least he lasted a bit longer than the rest. What a bloody bummer.
Looking at the night time sky cloaked in midnight black, Aeranath realises this to be the most beautiful scenario ever. Crickets chirping is music to his ears, a mournful howl hailing from a wolf some distance away reverberating in his soul. This is a symphony of solitude, an aria of solace. Hooting owls perching nearby, no qualms are given before roasted game tossed in their direction. A young fox nearby feasts on a partridge carcass half-eaten, Aeranath flashes a glance before reverting to his original focus.
The night is lovely and full of glimmering stars, the lunar moon both crimson and blue.