Monday, January 28, 2013

Brrda vs. the Undead King

Brrda, Savage Savior of the Secret Land, sat firm on his perch in the arms of a powerful old tree. Still weary after his confrontation with Regal Killman, Brrda wanted nothing more than to return to his roost for a day's rest. But such was not his fate. As he made one last sweeping glance across the jungle floor he spotted something unusual. Something which his heart assured him was evil.

He pulled on a higher branch, hiding himself behind the large leaves. A sinister chill dragged along his spine as he studied the oddity. Brrda, for the first time in many years, felt cold sweat break out across his body. Whatever this being was which stood before him, it was not to be taken lightly.

Though Brrda was sure it was evil, the bizarre thing attacked no creature nor harmed a single plant. It seemed to be mindful of all which it saw and heard. Which made it all the more difficult for The Savage Savior to remain hidden. The creature crept along, closely examining each flower and creature it saw. It seemed to be captivated by all manner of life.

Perhaps that was because it was obviously dead. Or had recently been so, anyway. It is not common that a skeleton should be living.

Brrda followed this creature, the skeleton, deep into the forest where they came into a clearing. The skeleton stopped, staring with souless eyes into the stone gaze of the statue of Richnua, one of the ancient Great Ones. The creature's compassion for life seemed suddenly overcome with a hate so heavy Brrda felt it pressing him down. Felt it squeeze his tired lungs.

The skeleton leaped at the statue, swiping with its bony claws at Richnua's high face. They carved deep a row of four long gashes in the stone, coming to a halt at the nose which they ripped away in its entirety. Brrda, who had been considering leaving the skeleton be, felt a fire ignite within him. How dare this vile thing deface his jungle!

He sprang from his place in the bushes, rushing to meet the skeleton as it fell. The demon, caught off guard by his ambush, met the most of his large shoulder and crumbled apart at Richnua's feet. Brrda seethed, staring at the pile of bones. He slapped the skull away with the back of his palm, watching angrily as it rolled away. It tumbled out of site behind some tall grass, and at once the aprehension was gone. Brrda snorted and turned, content at satisfying his duties. An early sleep would be his reward.

Needles wrapped tight around his neck. Brrda gasped, desperate for air, but none came to his blueing face. He felt his flesh rip and the familiar flow of blood seeping through. His eyes bulged, twisting round to the back of his head. He pulled at the needles, but their grip was strong, unbreakable. A cough hiked up his throat, bringing with it foul bile.

His elbow flew back reflexively, bashing something away. The needles disappeared, and air return to his lungs. Tears wetted his dried and pained eyes, but he had no time to wait for vision. Blindly he spun around, dragging his muscular leg through the air. It connected with something, and there was a feeling like dry and light rocks falling around him.

Slowly focus returned, and Brrda saw on the ground the pile of bones, the skeleton's skull peering up at him. Its dead jaw hung open, as though laughing.

But it didn't laugh. It rumbled, deep, menacing. Like a predator. Not a noise it should have been able to make. Brrda's skin went cold, prickling all over. He took a step away, watching in horror as the skull floated into the air and waited impatiently for its neck to join it. Then its shoulders, ribs, sternum, and every bone all the way down to its heels. When it had at last pulled itself together it roared, a sound which echoed off and rattled its old bones.

It lashed at him with knife-like fingers, tearing into his chest with ease. Brrda sucked air between his teeth, trying to ignore the searing pain. Before the skeleton could come again he rushed forth, blasting his fist through its skull. The skull toppled from the shoulders, but it did not crumble or crack.

Brrda realized that there was far more sorcery at work than he had originally thought. The bones of this creature were not like the bones of other deceased things, which became brittle and were easily powdered beneath his fists. The bones of this demon were more like rocks, but even those cracked when faced with Brrda's might. This monster, whatever it was, was unbreakable.

There had to be a way. Brrda watched as the skull again floated through the air, waiting for its body to hobble over and reattach. And that's when an idea struck him. Hastily, Brrda tore away his lone cloth. This was, of all foes, one which he preferred not to battle naked, but he saw no choice. Before the skeleton could replace its head he snatched the floating skull out of the air and tied it in the cloth. The body hobbled toward him, but it was blind without its eyes. He dashed away, watching behind. As he traveled further he noticed the skeleton's body growing less and less balanced. It began to jerk from left to right, shambling after him slowly. Then it began to fall apart, losing first the stalk of vertebrae sprouting off the shoulders. Brrda grinned. His plan would work out better than expected.

He rushed through the jungle, under branch and over twig. Then into the trees, swinging from one to the next with uncanny grace. He came at last to what he knew was the oldest and largest tree in the Secret Land, the last of its kind. Its moss-covered trunk towered hundreds of feet above every other tree in the jungle, its might arms creating its own canopy above the jungle's. Brrda knew that beneath this tree was The Dark Place, but in its branches there was plenty of sun. And it was at the highest branch of this mighty tree that Brrda fastened his loin, with the skull still in it, before making his descent.

He returned to Richnua's statue and examined the skeleton's bodily bones to be sure that they were dead. He made an attempt at crushing the femur between two large rocks, confirming his suspicions when it was unharmed by the weight. Seeing no other solution he buried the bones deep beneath the dirt, and placed ontop of them the largest boulder he could find.

The skeletal creature at last put to rest, Brrda sauntered home for a little of his own.

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