Chaydok fought his way through the thick brush
for hours. A spear was slung carelessly across his back. He was
scratched, tired, and hungry. When he finally reached a clearing
he stopped gratefully. He threw down his pack and pulled out his
tinder box. There were enough sticks and twigs around to get a
small fire going so he could go search for larger firewood. He
was gone for a few minutes and returned with an armful of logs.
Tossing these down, he thought about supper. There was still
enough light for a short hunt. Grabbing his spear he crept
towards the woods. About ten yards away he noticed a small doe
come from the trees. Excitement built in him as he raised his
spear and got ready to throw. He yelped as an arrow flew past his
ear. The deer needless to say bolted away like a shot. Chaydok
snarled and whirled to face the archer. At the edge of the
clearing was a dark garbed figure. A long bow was in its hand. At
its side was a broadsword in a sheath. Across its back was a
quiver of arrows. The bow was pulled back taut and an arrow
strung. Chaydok stood stock still as time slowed. The figure
loosed the arrow. Chaydok gasped and leapt to the side. The bolt
missed by a hair's breadth. Chaydok landed and rolled to his feet
pulling out his scimitar. The figure growled and cast away his
bow to draw his broadsword. The pair faced each other. The figure
charged first. His sword was swinging in a complicated
combination of moves. Chaydok blocked and parried with all of his
might. When he saw an opening he sliced at the creature's side.
The unearthly howl rent the night air. Anger
flashed in the figure's eyes. Chaydok jumped back and fell. The
figure was upon him in an instant. Chaydok was terrified. "What
name does my killer have?" he asked breathlessly. The figure
chuckled. "My name is Hutjey. And I have waited for months for
Lucifer to allow me to kill you." The figure snarled. Chaydok
smiled. And they said Demons were supposed to be smart. With a
yell he brought his sword up into Hutjey's leg. Hutjey shrieked
and threw himself backwards. Chaydok leapt up and raised his
blade. Hutjey went into a panotomic rage. His attacks became
reckless and predictable. At every swing Chaydok felt himself
gaining advantage. Finally Hutjey swung at Chaydok and found a
blade embedded in his thigh. The Demon screamed and dissipated
into mist. Chaydok sank to his knees and gasped for breath. He
sat there for a few minutes to gather his strength and wandered
back to his camp. He found his fire going and a young boy of
about fifteen sitting near it . Chaydok was too delirious to
care. He just lay down on his mat and fell asleep.
Chaydok awoke long after the break of day and
looked around. The boy was gone. A plate of food was beside his
mat so he dug in greedily. The meal was only a slice of buttered
bread and a piece of cheese but after nothing but dried venison
for two weeks it seemed like heaven. As he was eating the boy
came back dragging a dead wolf. Chaydok eyed him suspiciously.
The boy smiled at him and pulled out a knife to begin skinning
the wolf. After about ten minutes he was done. He made a rack to
put over the fire and carved off a large section of wolf flank.
This he threw onto the rack. A short time later he took it off
and put it on a plate which he gave to Chaydok. Chaydok was a
little wary of eating wolf. "How do I know it's safe?" he asked
not expecting an answer. "When you have to run for your whole
life you learn to eat anything you catch." The boy replied.
Chaydok held down his surprise. "And your name?" he asked in a
would-be casual voice. The boy looked at the ground, "I've not
got one." He whispered. Chaydok was surprised but got up and put
his arm around the boy's shoulders. "Then I christen you Vizot,
after my father." The boy nodded and cut another wolf steak. This
he tossed on the rack and prepared his breakfast. Chaydok walked
back to his mat and sat down to his own steak. He was pleasantly
surprised at the wonderful taste. It reminded him of a type of
meat he tried a few years back. He had thought it was just a
particularly fine quality beef steak.
Vizot finished his steak and lay back on his mat
looking at the sky. "So what is your name?" he asked. "Chaydok"
was the answer. Vizot nodded, "Where do you come from?" Chaydok
stopped eating. "I come from what was once America before the
Nuke war. There's nothing there now but ash. At least there are
forests here in Europe. And you come from here?" Vizot shook his
head, "I'm from the island of Gutyin. It's off the coast of
Norway. It was destroyed a few weeks after I was born. My father
was killed in the fighting and my mother fled with me to Ireland.
We stayed there until I was about five, then the Retchit came and
claimed it in the name of King Hithog. We then fled here. A few
months after that my mother was killed in the raids from
Scotland. I ran into these woods and haven't left it since." He
answered. Chaydok felt pity well up in himself. Without a word he
grabbed his bag and pulled out a long dagger with a jade handle
and a ruby lined sheath. He handed this to Vizot. Vizot took it
wide eyed. Chaydok smiled, "Let's get going."
Vizot guided Chaydok through the twisted mass of
trees towards the nearest city; Gjonhit. It was the center of
trade and traffic in the whole expanse of Switzerland. "So why
are you going there?" Vizot asked pulling a vine out of his
scraggy hair. Chaydok was silent in thought for a moment. "I have
a wrong to rectify. A man named Jhkint killed a friend of mine
last year. I heard he was in Gjonhit. So I plan to find him and
kill him." He stopped talking when he saw that Vizot's jaw had
dropped. "You don't mean the Jhkint? The right hand man to
Lucifer?" he asked in shock. Chaydok merely nodded. Vizot
After a few days of fighting through the dense
undergrowth the forest opened to large hardwood wood with thick
trees. Vizot seemed uneasy. "We'll have to take watches at night.
This place is a Hell hole of bandits, monsters, and rouge elves.
We might even come across a dwarf village though they happen to
be very rare." He said as they went along. Chaydok just grunted.
The pair walked forward into the open forest. Vizot seemed a
little jumpy but was for the most part successful at hiding it.
The darkness filled in around them as they walked deeper into
that dark evil feeling forest. Some of the trees reached out to
snag them but most had branches too high to touch them. Chaydok's
spear was slung across his back and his sword at his side. Vizot
had his dagger at his side. The only sounds that they heard were
the tweets of a few forlorn birds. Vizot pulled out a glowing orb
and gazed at it intently as they walked. "What's that?" Chaydok
asked looking at the smooth green surface. It was a perfectly
round ball that seemed to hold all the secrets to life but they
evaded the open conscious of Chaydok's mind. "It was given to me
a few years ago by a wizard. He told me to use it at Death's
Door. I don't know what it does." Vizot answered. Vizot put the
orb back in his pouch and focused his attention on the worn path
they were on. Suddenly he stopped. His eyes were wide and his
ears twitched. "Hide!" he hissed, disappearing into the branches
of a low hanging tree. Chaydok was surprised but ran to a
different tree and leapt into it. Just in time too. A posse of
short, stocky, well armed creatures came from around an aspen
grove. And by well armed I mean axes, throwing hatchets, daggers,
and a sword. This is what each one was wearing. And each had
about a hundred pounds of armor. But all of this seemed to hinder
them little. They moved with surprising speed and purpose….Right
under Chaydok's tree. Chaydok guessed they were dwarves. Out of
nowhere a branch fell onto the company. One got hit in the head
and cursed. He looked up and saw Chaydok. His face switched from
anger to surprise. He called out and the company halted. Suddenly
there were twenty dwarves crowded around the tree. One motioned
him to come down and smiled. Chaydok was wary but came down
slowly. When his feet hit the ground the dwarves looked at him in
wonder. The dwarf the branch hit smiled at him and extended a
hand. The dwarfs' heads were at Chaydok's shoulder. He shook the
iron grip and grimaced as he felt his bones groan in the dwarf's
hand. The dwarf apparently realized he hurt Chaydok for his smile
vanished. "My apologies my friend" he said with a thick accent.
Chaydok grunted as he massaged his hand. The dwarf bowed low.
"How rude of us. We haven't introduced ourselves. I am Gnardax,
leader of the Gultin Company. These are my men." He said
gesturing to the others. Chaydok was then given a full naming of
the Company. They went in alphabetical order from Altayin to
Zexil. Each dwarf bowed and said the same two words; Thitine
Pyintu. Gnardax said it meant 'Peace to you friend.' Chaydok
stared around for Vizot but he wasn't in sight. He walked over to
the tree the boy had vanished into but he wasn't in it. Chaydok
shrugged and turned to the dwarves. "Do you know of a young boy
that wanders these woods?" he asked. The dwarves' faces darkened.
"Does he have long black hair and a scar on his cheek?" Gnardax
asked. "He has the same hair but I know not of a scar. Do you
know how he got it?" he answered. Gnardax nodded. "I gave him the
scar. He visited our village and insulted us by hunting the
sacred deer. I was going to kill him but he escaped. The scar was
a token." He said gruffly. He looked up at the tree tops. "We
must be going now. Our village is expecting us. You can come with
us and be our guest." He offered. Chaydok accepted this offer
gratefully. As they departed Chaydok looked back and thought he
saw a flash of movement but an instant later all was still.
The village was nothing like Chaydok imagined. He
had thought there would be grim faced guards by a thick gate and
unfriendly citizens. What he met was a gathering of happy,
laughing dwarves. He had also imagined that the women were
bearded and ugly. Again he was surprised. The women were fairer
than any human he had ever seen. As he walked in the dwarf
children ran around his legs and climbed up to sit on his
shoulders. He saw a few teenage dwarf girls looking at him and
giggling. He winked at them and chuckled as they hit a huge
giggling fit. Gnardax brought him to the center of the village to
a small hut. When he reached it everyone around got quiet.
Chaydok watched in wonder as a large dwarf emerged from inside.
On his head was a helm of bronze and a sword hung at his side. He
motioned Chaydok over and told him to kneel. "Before we partake
of our feast let us welcome our guest Chaydok." He called.
Chaydok guessed that Gnardax had told him his name. The old dwarf
whose name was Glacdow placed a ring of gold on Chaydok's hand.
Then the feast began. There were numerous and plenty courses and
Chaydok soon became lost in all of the names and dishes. One of
the dwarf girls finally got up the courage to come and talk to
him. Her name was Jinna. She was extremely tall for a dwarf. Her
head reached Chaydok's nose. Surprisingly her parents were short
for dwarves. Jinna had a beautiful laugh and her smile was like
glittering glass. Her hair was a deep red. She walked over and
sat down by Chaydok and smiled at him. "Hello" she said, "I am
Jinna." Chaydok smiled back. "And I am Chaydok." He answered. He
noticed that her eyes were a beautiful shade of blue. They sat
and talked for near an hour. He found out that she was his age,
eighteen, she liked sparring, and she was an orphan. Her parents
had been killed in an Elvish skirmish.
As the feast progressed the dwarves brought out
different forms of entertainment. From dancers to sparers Chaydok
enjoyed every minute of it. Jinna explained what every dance
meant and smiled as he held a look of confusion at the
complicated names. Chaydok became aware of a strange noise above
the instruments and dwarf singing. A ringing sound. A foul sound.
He gasped as he realized what he was hearing. Swords! Chaydok
jumped up and drew his sword. "Everybody down!" he screamed. The
dwarves stopped immediately and threw him questioning looks. He
turned and held his sword in front of him. The dwarves went into
hysterics as an arrow whizzed and struck Glackdow dead. Chaydok
raised his hand and a blast of light lit the woods. A small army
was gathered in the trees. At the flash they charged forward.
Chaydok was surprised to see that these weren't Demons, but
mortal men. They bore on their shields the crest of an unfamiliar
king. The crest composed of a snake winding around the neck of a
man and baring it's fangs. Upon each man's head was a helm of
wrought iron. Their weapons varied from axes to swords to spears
and maces. Gnardax was barking orders as the warriors began
swarming over the village. Chaydok guessed their numbers to be
near four hundred. He held his ground as the soldiers charged
him. Brandishing his sword he raised his hand forward. "Bknowa
Giltoshiy!" he bellowed. A jet of freezing mist shrouded the
soldiers. After a moment the men began to scream and cry in agony
as their very souls froze. The dry ice burned their skins and
armor. The warriors behind surged back wards. Horror fell onto
their faces as the watched their friends die. The apparent leader
of the group walked forward. His eyes gleamed red under his
visor. "Sorcerer!" he hissed, "If you have any honor you will
fight us as men. Not the rabble you're used to." Chaydok nodded.
He swung his sword high above his head and brought it down into a
man's back, killing him instantly. He turned and grinned evilly
at the soldiers. "Come and get some!" he barked. The leader
growled and ordered a charge.
Chaydok met the onslaught head on. Swinging his
sword in high arches he sliced through enemy after enemy. His
blade gleamed with delight at being used. No weapon seemed to
hurt him. He was just sending a man to Hell when there came a
mighty horn blast. Suddenly the dwarves emerged and surged up
behind Chaydok. Jinna stood behind him wielding two slim daggers.
Gnardax was beside him with his axe. Chaydok nodded at him. Then,
to the surprise of everyone a small figure leapt down from a tree
to stand right next to Chaydok. "Vizot!" Chaydok yelled happily.
The boy was grim faced and dirty. He held in his hand the dagger
that Chaydok had given him. His teeth were bared in a soundless
snarl. Gnardax looked at him and grunted. Chaydok turned back to
their enemies with a triumphant grin. His sword gleamed forest
green in the fire light. The leader lowered his sword a few
inches. "What is your blade's name?" he asked. "Mangolin." Came
Chaydok's reply. The leader growled and leapt at Chaydok. Chaydok
brought Mangolin up in response. The leader twirled and swung at
him but met only Chaydok's arm greave. Chaydok laughed as he
pulled his arm back unharmed. "And your name?" he said, raising
Mangolin. The leader stood up straight and slowly removed his
helmet. "Jhkint!" he snarled.
Jhkint laughed, "Hello Chaydok. I heard you were looking for me
so I decided to send my spy to find you. He motioned and Hutjey
appeared next to him. The Demon had a shielding bandage on his
side. His face was contorted in rage. Jhkint was smiling. Around
them the dwarves were fighting off the soldiers but losing. "You
see Chaydok," Jhkint said casually, picking up a dagger from a
fallen dwarf, "This is your last day alive. DIE!" he screamed.
With one swift motion he flung it at Chaydok. Time slowed down. A
sudden anger raged inside of Chaydok. He raised his hand and
yelled, "Julick Fliyata!" The Dagger stopped in mid air and spun
around. With lightening speed it flew into Hutjey's throat. The
Demon gurgled as he died. Jhkint turned to Chaydok with a look of
shocked anger. A roar came from his throat as he charged. His
sword was a blur. Inhuman were his attacks. Chaydok though was
able to deflect them with ease. The man swirled around whacking
and stabbing at places Chaydok didn't know he had. This pattern
continued for what seemed like an eternity until Jhkint was
finally able to slice into Chaydok's leg. Chaydok shrieked and
sank to his knees. Mangolin hung loose in his hands. Jhkint
circled around him like a wolf. His breath came in quick gasps.
Chaydok stared at the ground. He looked up and saw Vizot fighting
one of the many soldiers. Gnardax was hewing heads left and right
but it was apparent that it was a losing fight. Jhkint stopped in
front of Chaydok and chuckled. "The great Chaydok." He mocked,
"Slain by the Devil's partner. How valiant. How courageous. To
bad no one will ever hear your tale." He raised his sword high
above his head. Chaydok stared him in the eye as his blade fell.
It fell……. And struck the grass next to Chaydok. Chaydok stared
at Jhkint in wonder and fear. The man looked at him for what
seemed like forever. Finally he held out his hand to Chaydok.
Chaydok was wary but took his hand none the less. Jhkint smiled
as he pulled him to his feet. "No one will know it because it
didn't happen." He said. Then he grabbed Chaydok's dagger from
his belt and stabbed himself in the stomach.
Chaydok yelped in surprise. His enemy gave him one last smile and
died. Around him the sounds of battle began to fade. When he
looked up he saw the soldiers were dead or fleeing. Gnardax hewed
a final head and turned to him. He gave a cry when he saw
Chaydok's leg. Vizot hurried over and examined it while Gnardax
lumbered behind. After a few minutes Vizot straightened up and
grinned at him. "You'll live." He said. "Sorry then." Chaydok
chuckled. Gnardax's rumbling laughter filled the air. "Come on."
He laughed, "Let's get you to a healer." He put one of Chaydok's
arms around his shoulder and began hobbling him to the nearest
hut. Suddenly a blur of red streaked towards them. Jinna ran up
and grasped him around the waist. "You're alright!" she
exclaimed. Chaydok grinned as he leaned in and kissed her. His
life was getting better, he thought as they hobbled towards the
hut. Behind them the dwarves began their victory song and Chaydok
knew he was home.
"So why did he kill himself?" Vizot asked, biting into a boiled
chicken leg. Chaydok waited until he wasdone chewing before
answering. "My best guess is that Jhkint had gained his last
goal: to strike me helpless. He didn't want to return to his king
empty-handed so he killed himself." Was the answer. Jinna was
sitting at the end of the bed sipping her soup quietly. They were
all sitting or lying around in the village healer's house.
Gnardax had a heavy bandage on his arm, Vizot had a head wrap,
Chaydok had a leg wrap, and Jinna had her hands wrapped up.
Gnardax also had a bandage on his eye where he had lost it to an
arrow. Chaydok sighed as he ate his full size boiled chicken.