Saturday, May 18, 2013

Curse of the Undead King: Chapter Three

Thousands of Years Ago

"This is not what I wanted." Richnua stared into the golden chalice, swashing its contents—red juice from tanative berry—from one edge to the next.

The Great One's grimace was as deep as his long face, which, while humanoid, was certainly quite long. He scoffed, casting a sharp gaze at his shackled servant. Spitting pink upon the slave's back before throwing down the chalice at his feet. "Fix it. Bring me what I asked for."

"My apologies, Master Richnua," the servant said with some sincerity, though his teether were clenched tight. "Right away, Master Richnua."

The slave grabbed the chalice and hustled off, trying to ignore the saliva dripping into his shorts. He stalked the corridors like a disgruntled boar, dodging large pink puddles and bumping shoulders with those foolish enough not to give him the right of way. Huffing and puffing, both with anger and with the effort of dragging the three-foot chalice. This was the daily routine for him, and his muscles had stopped aching long ago. Now his arms were as big around as watermelons.

He shoved a purple tapestry which hung from the ceiling. Steam burst out from behind it, as if to welcome him into the kitchen. It was his least favorite place to be, always so crowded and humid, even when compared to the tropical jungles of the Great Empire. Others like him, others who frequently wore the spit of their masters, others who were too small to be anything but slaves, busily dashed from room to room preparing every whim of the Great One's great guts.

The kitchen servants were wise to the slave's temper and cleared a path for him from one doorway to the next. They knew by the cup in his arms and the pink on his back what he needed. They nodded politely at him, but he nodded none in return. There was no surprise among them.

The outer air kissed his sweating biceps as he left the steamy kitchen. A calming breeze combed through his hair and wiped tenderly at his brow. He stopped and raised his chin, letting the golden handles slip from his fingers. The cup fell and a great cong rang out from its bowl, but the slave didn't care. He was too smitten with the embrace of the wind, too teased with the scent of fresh bloom. Too taunted by the idea of freedom.

"Mrrda. Hey, Mrrda!" A pleasant voice that brought him back to his miseries.

"Plt," the slave greeted, taking up the chalice once more. He hauled it across the grassy field to where his friend stood ankle deep in a tub of mixed and crushed berries. She stomped slow and easy, one foot after the other, squishing juice through the tubs bottom into a large collecting bowl below.

"Wrong juice again?" Plt gave him a knowing smile.

"As always. I guess he wanted blue tanative, not red." Mrrda propped himself by an elbow on the large cup, watching his lifelong friend with interest.

Plt was Mrrda's oldest friend, a fact he reflected on whenever he saw her. His oldest, he reminded himself, because the others had all been murdered.

"Well, I can't help you right now. I'll contaminate the juice here if I step out."

"I know," he said. "I'll wait."


Bone dust was scattered in the grass like an ancient snow. There was a whooshing noise as the particles became tornadoes, swirling around the pile of bones and slurping the chalky powder off the bent grass. The whirling winds trampled over the dull femurs and fingers, pushing the grains into the cracks where they came together as one. Up rose the skull, raining curious insects off its dome. They all fell away, with the exception of a stubborn centipede strung up on an eye socket.

One by one the bones drifted into the air. They floated quietly toward the skull, attaching where they fit best. It was not long before the Undead King was whole again. He glanced at the crater in his right shoulder, the missing bits of sternum and collar. They called to him faintly from the floor of the chopper and the threads of Tycoon's coat. They called over miles, begging for the return of the king, but the trail was lukewarm at best.

Mrrda growled, reaching for the saber with cracking fingers. It made a grinding noise as it slipped firmly between his ribs. The blade shimmered in the light of the newborn sun, as though begging for blood. Another growl, a promise, The saber would have its blood. It would drink of the blood of Brrda and sooner, the blood of Tycoon.

The grass crumpled beneath his feet as Mrrda marched, for the first time, away from the Secret Lands...

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