Friday, April 19, 2013

The Great Richnua

His tongue was dry and swollen, his throat was rough, his eyes crusted over. Chains klinked as he tried to peel the sleep away. Cuffs tightened on his wrists and at once he remembered. And with the memory came the pain. An ache in his body where the cane had smashed, and the rest of him felt hot and blistered. With a snarl he rattled his binds, but it did no good. They had been reinforced, and even his Herculean strength could not break them.

The scars on his body all seemed to burn. He reflected over them. He had been scratched by the demon tiger Dibar, matched against the Undead King, hunted by the world's greatest animal tracker. How could he be subdued by mere metal? Brrda was no weak man! He roared savagely, stringing saliva from his teeth. No iron would hold he. With a grunt he flexed, tightening the cuffs on his ankles and wrists. The rusted cross upon which hung his arms creaked and spat orange dust over him. His eyes bulged, sweat ran heavily.

But the chains gave no quarter.

Tired, sore, sobered he quit. His hands hung limp from their captors' grip. He tried to swallow but found his throat too swollen and sore, so spat instead. The scars burned, tauntingly. After fighting for so long for his life, for the life of others, for honor, for his home, against evils far greater than he, and now all of it an end in this alien place where Brrda found he had no power. Perhaps, he considered, I had been fooling myself. Perhaps I am not as strong as I seemed. Perhaps I had simply allowed myself to be fooled by my sheltered existence.

He contemplated defeat. Contemplation gave birth to rage. How dare he? How dare he think of surrender when those of his home would need him? Rage to more rage, rage against rage. Rage which barked for answers at itself. What choice would he have? It matters little what I want. I am useless to do anything.

His head hung in shame. The grease of his tangled brown hair stung his eyes. The leather, which had at some point in his unconsciousness replaced his furred loins, chaffed his thighs. Sweat and spit dripped from his face, and with them fell tears.

"You are not weak, Brrda."

At once he snapped to attention. None of the creatures like him could speak a language he knew. Yet now from the darkness came words of encouragement on a voice warm and kind.

"You have strongly served your home for years. And you will soon serve it more."
A blue light grew from the shadows. It floated at height with his eyes, and was all around the size of his head. Brrda stared at the light intently, though cautiously. He knew at once that he was in the presence of a Great One.

"I shall free you of these chains, as I have not yet the strength for more. And you shall return to me in time, Brrda."

The metal cuffs snapped away, releasing his wrists. The air stung, but it was good. Brrda listened hard to the whispers of his lord.

"Find your tiger, Brrda. Then find yourself home. I await you, eagerly."

The light faded, drenching Brrda in darkness. At once he stole into the night, listening for the angered snores of his feline friend. She was found in a cage sleeping apart from the other tigers, whom had backed themselves into a corner and studied Retsis fearfully. Her prison was more easily broken than his, and in minutes they were racing across an open field and escaping the big top of madness.

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