Friday, May 24, 2013

Curse of the Undead King: Chapter Four

Cracked pavement scraped under Mrrda's talon-like toes. The sound was something like chalk, as though the king were drawing a path from the Secret Lands into the modern world. Rattling in his ribs was the saber, whose lust had still been unfulfilled. That would not last long, though. The powdered remains of his shoulder were pulsing more wildly than ever, calling loudly and hotly. It was a strange sensation, to feel his body screaming from so far off. It was something like a distant fire licking him warmly. The missing bits of his body burned with desire.

The moon was watchful of the out-of-time skeleton. Its light made the ground glow, and met with the trees and grass to cast long shadows along the road. There were few with him at night, but some nocturnal creatures watched from their hideout in the foliage. Many of them were smaller creatures, wary of this new and bizarre beast. Some, though, were starving and eager, and could smell the marrow in Mrrda's ancient bones. He warned them away with shouts and a glint of his famished blade.

Some, however, were not so frightened.

Mrrda was aware of their presence since he had left the Secret Lands, but the darkness pulsing from his bones had kept them off for the past several nights. Now, though, they became used to the sensation and were growing more bold. He caught a glimpse of one from his peripheral sight. Its tall, burly shadow loomed over the top of a small bush. A pair of similar shadows stood up on either flank. Mrrda could feel their eyes on him. He stopped in their gaze, drawing his hand to the hilt of his sword.

A shiver made him tremble. Mrrda was familiar with these beasts.

Terribly familiar.

He tried to speak, managed to choke despite having no throat and no saliva. After a hesitation and a calming breath, he whispered at the shadows: "I have nothing good to eat. I'm all bones and no meat."

The lead shadow made a move, something like flinching, at the sound of Mrrda's voice. Leaves and twigs crunched as it stepped back with one foot, as though bracing itself. The two behind it flexed their arms and shoulders, but their glowing eyes flicked nervously to their leader.

"You can speak," the center shadow rumbled. Its voice was deep and full of gravel with beastly undertones which gave it a quality not unlike a lion's growl.

"Yes," said the king with an air of menace. "I can speak to all creatures."

The shadow stepped through the leaves, ripping the bush apart with its bulk. Its features became clear as moonlight washed over it. Shaggy red-orange fur which bounced with monstrous step it took. In its mouth was a set of large, jagged teeth growing up from black gums. Its fingernails were long and sharp, but its toenails had been cracked and splintered by the forest. The creatures massive brow hung heavily over its large black eyes. Its chest puffed as it breathed the chilly air.

With a flare of nostrils it said: "Stories of other talking creatures are passed down from the elders."

An uneasy coldness came over the Undead King. He stiffened with apprehension and curled his fingers tight around the sword.

"They tell us so that we will never forget."

The create huffed loudly, pushing off a cloud of hot air.

"So that we will never forget those who slaughtered us!"

It brought its great fists down. Mrrda nimbly rolled away, leaving the beast to hammer a crater into the paved road. Its recovery was extraordinarily quick for such a hulking beast, and before the king had finished his somersault the bulging arm was swinging round to clock the back of his skull. Mrrda tumbled a ways. The sword dragged on the ground, grabbing at the grooved surface. The hilt jumped in Mrrda's hand, but he never let it go. Not even as he sprawled across the earth, his jaw lost somewhere in the darkness.

The creature jumped forward, landing at the heels of Mrrda, who had not yet pulled himself off the ground.

"Those who enslaved us!"

Two meaty fists pounded into Mrrda's back. His spine splintered halfway between the ribs and the pelvis. In desperation he reached out with all his will, commanding his body to move. His disconnected legs sprang to life, kicking at the massive beast. They were quickly thrown aside, but it had provided enough time for Mrrda to spin onto his back and jab the sword into the beast's shoulder.

It threw its head back and howled as metal carved into the thick flesh. With a snort it slapped Mrrda with its knuckles. The king's upper half soared through the air. This time he lost the saber. It fell to the ground as he flew, landing with a clatter. There was a crash as his skull landed at a tree, followed shortly by another crash as the monster landed at the end of his tailed spine.

Propped on his ribs, his skull cracked between the eyes, Mrrda looked weakly into the heart of his foe. The other two appeared over its shoulders, grinning wildly with their yellow fangs.

"Those who created the hairless things. Those things that would come and destroy everything."

"If we didn't destroy it," Mrrda sneered, "You would have."

The creature's eyes bugged with fury. It grunted, heaved its mighty hand into the air.

Mrrda could feel it. The pain in his cracked skull. The dizzying coldness that oozed from it. A sensation he'd not felt since his life.

So. His thoughts were scattered and dreamy. I have a weak spot after all.

The beast's fist fell forward. A sickening crack shattered the calmness of the night.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if this is the end for Mrrda? How ignominious. :(