Monday, July 29, 2013

God's Eye View of Hekinoe Part 6

Ten Giant shamans stalk the dim tomb, once lit garishly by the bubbling lava, now only dimly illuminated as the lava flows cool and still. They avoid traps and trials that their forefathers have written of in the Books of the Ancients, the secret histories of their people. They pass the black statues that bind the most malevolent demons of the Underhel, and do so without fear or worry. They come to what was once the chamber of power, only to find that the pond of blue energy has faded and dried up. Frowns etch their crude features and they finger talismans and amulets as they move to the central chamber. They find the Guardian broken and shattered, its demon barely bound and full of screeching rage and cold hunger. They find the prison of the most ancient foe of their ancestors empty and thrown open, chains and keys scattered across the floor. The shamans begin incantations and gestures, turning their magics to the task of discovering what has happened here.

The lawman skulks into New Beltan like a thief in the night, no one notes his presence or entry save for a few overly dutiful Greycoats. His badge is old and has no weight in Kusseth anymore, but the rank and file don't know that and his grey eyes full of death and weariness are enough of a bluff to get the Greycoats off his back. He finds the Elduman pirate captain with the bite mark on his face drinking and picking at fading scabs on his pale skin in a dive so cliche that for a moment the lawman thinks he's back busting heads in the 37th ten years ago. The pirate nods and the lawman pulls up a seat across the table from him. The pirate raises a bald eyebrow at the lawman and the lawman shrugs. No words pass between them, they drink and smoke. One a pipe and the other cigarettes by the dozen. A brawl breaks out, and the two old men are an eye in the storm, the mob has the survival instinct to leave them out of it.

The Goebleen King and his brother exchange words with the king's middle son. Looks are exchanged between the king and his brother and then the son. The son's ears wilt and he shuffles his feet as his father and uncle speak to him, but he turns to go and only gnashes his tusk-like teeth a little. He returns to his and his brother's cronies, mud from the road still crusted on them, he gestures and raises his voice and they all move out to return from where they came. They are tired and haggard and sick of travel, but the king has ordered it, so they go. The king and his brother talk for some time longer, shadows dancing in the palm of the king's hand. Their eyes bounce between one another, the Black Mountain to the north though it is concealed by the earth of their warren, and to the east towards a small tower also concealed from sight by the walls of the warren.

Ranks of Rankethlek march in unison out of the gates of Steeltown, shining in the sun. They halt precisely one mile from the gates and set up camp. Behind them, a second group of Rankethlek march, these ones armed not with firearms or melee weapons, but instead with timber and concrete mix, huge coils of copper wire and tools of every shape and size. Packs of argut circle the strange and precise encampment, but haven't the bloodlust to shatter their teeth on the unmoving wall of metal bodies arrayed around the construction site.

Two kings walk the silver forests of Vyanthnem, one with a black stave in his hand and the other king's hand in the other. The enormous silver trees shiver and shake, sensing sorcery and hungering for the blood of the two kings. As the kings draw near, the trees shake and shiver in a different way. Their thick trunks shift as roots squirm and twist in the dirt, attempting to drag the mighty trees away from the two kings. The trees have realized the kings are not sorcerers and that they are not predators to these tiny kings, but instead are gnats. Unable to move far or with any great speed, the silver trees grow dim and quiet to avoid attention and silence settles across the forests of Vyanthnem, unsettling the Vyanth huntsmen that guard the border with the eerie quiet.

The Sorcerer Magistrate, a white streak in his raven black hair, gazes down from the black walls as a splinter group of reavers attacks his city. A feral grin splits his lips as a white bolt of sorcerous lightning streaks from atop the city to the invaders and incinerates two dozen reavers. Those that aren't burned to dead immediately, soon drown and burn in puddles of molten glass where the strike has superheated the earth. 

A hand rises up over the edge of the cliff and soon drags a Fell Human pirate up after it. The pirate looks worn out and exhausted, like's he's on his last legs and they may break very shortly. But he grins widely as he stands, revealing long fangs where his canine teeth should be. He looks around, and whistles, though the whistle is lost in the howling of the wind. Somehow, a black hound, more wolf than dog, barrels into the pirate and knocks him to the ground and savagely licks the pirates face. The dog's eyes are red and glowing, and his teeth are more fang than tooth. The pirate struggles out from under his dog and rises to inspect the peak once more. His eyes note a throne, made for a creature taller than he and carved of black stone, and also vacant. He taps a finger against his chin, his brow furrowed. Shrugging, he pats his pup's head and approaches the throne.

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