The One-Ear's story continues...

THE CRUNCH

By

Asgrimmr Morris

Chapter 2

"Horses? Cavalry? You must be mad Turg, leave it to a Dog to find a way to bring his dinner to battle" -Lessil to Turg, during a drinking contest at the AleHaus, Blindspot-HinterLands. Aai's Year 9354

Far to the west of High City, in the wooded foothills of the Bakalas Mountains, in a clearing at it's edge sat a drover cart with two occupants. The one holding the reins of the mulies was a Rott. His companion, a half breed Fehloni, part Black Face and part Mau. A strange pair to say the least.

They both sat looking east to the distant city, watching the skies darken above the heart of the Republic. For them, it was a good sign. For the city they watched, not so good.

The grey hooded cloak the Rott wore did little to hide his heavily muscled frame, or the plate armor that encased him. He had a broad face, with the black and tan coloring typical of his breed. The scarring about his face told a story of battles long past. Like the One-Ear in the city, he was a veteran of the Caynnic Wars. In fact, during the war he had been a Knight of Saint Halger. A War Priest no less. Now an exile. And a heretic to boot.

' Anytime now, lass. Hope that Sek's onboard with this.' said the Rott to his feline companion.'Ole Charlie better be right 'bout this, else we gotta go..'

' Turg, you're acting like a fretting bitch, if Charles said it's going to happen, it will.' responded the feline turning to look at the old soldier. The emerald green eyes staring from that black face seemed annoyed.' He'll Roar, the Sek has a vial of dalak for him. It'll counter the drugs the Matron gave him.'

' I concur with Lessil, the dalak will be sufficient for this task. We will acomplish our mission, fear not dear Knight' said a deep baritone voice, seemingly coming from the empty space left of the cart.

Turg looked up and left, to the emptiness beside him and grunted. 'Easy for you to say big guy, nobody can see you.' At that Turg started to grin, then he laughed, his whole body shook with mirth. With some effort Turg tried to speak, ' Poor sollies... can't wait to see their faces...when you and your lads... pop out of thin air. They'll piss themselves sure enough by Halger' .

'Someone comes, behind us. What a mind it has, almost like...I must be silent, I'll leave it to you Knight.' said their unseen companion. Becoming silent once more.

At that the humor left Turg, in an instant he'd jumped from the cart with a speed and grace of motion unusual for someone of his bulk. With Great Sword in hand he marched to the rear of the cart. Ready for battle.

Lessil too left the cart, turning her attention to the clearing's edge behind them. With rapier and dagger at the ready she too waited for this intruder. ' What do you smell dog?' she said glancing at Turg.

Turg's head move back and forth taking in the scents around him. After a long moment, he cocked his head slightly. Then visibly relaxed, sheathing his sword. He turned to Lessil and said' Put those away lass, mind yourself and show no disrespect.'

'Well, what is it?' she asked.

'Groendockr' Turg replied. Then thought , I'd know that smell anywhere. They always smell like oil and stone. But what's he doing here?

Groendockr, known far and wide as Masters of stone and metal. It was they who forged Halger's Great Sword, with the most prized and rarest of alloys, Jade Steel. And it was they who designed and built the elegant buildings of High City. Their neutrality was respected by both Caynn and Fehloni. Both races sought out their journeysmiths in times of war. Those strange and insular Caynns. It was rumored they could speak with the very Earth itself.

They didn't have to wait long , as they watched, the newcomer strode from between the trees to stop ten yards from them. Definitely Groendockr, jet black hair tied back into a intricate braid, as was their custom. He had a long face, soft brown eyes. He was grey around the jaw, an elder then. His dress was simple but practical. An oilskin travel cloak over wool shirt and trousers. Around his wrists, bands of Jade Steel. Marking him a High Master. A Lord of the Groendockr.

In his arms he carried a linen wrapped bundle just over five feet or so in length. Very carefully and with what seemed like reverence he laid his burden upon the grass. He rose then, and bowed to Turg ignoring Lessil completely and spoke.' Hail thee Knight, Faithful and True.' He turned slighly facing their unseen companion. He bowed again, this time dropping to one knee ' I beg thee Great One, hide not thy face from me, for the Earth doth speak of thee. We are met well and true.'

In an instant their companion appeared. Fifteen feet of hulking muscle and steel armor. It was clear who his ancestors were, Silverback gorillas. In his right hand he held a massive warhammer. Putting down his fell weapon, he bowed in the formal style placing right hand across his barrel-like chest.' I am honored my lord , let there be friendship between us. The skills of your people are well known and admired amongst my kin. I am curious lord, what has brought you to this place?'

' It doth fall to me to await the slayer of the false god, Great One.' answered the High Master, rising as he did so, and spoke again.' I must return to him his sword. ' And gestured to the bundle before him. Onnyn's Sword. It could be nothing else.

Feeling left out and slighted Lessil could hold her tongue no more.' Hey, what about me? ' At that her ears flatened and her tail swished back and forth. Her eyes locked with the High Master demanding an answer.

' Thou doth bear the mark of Foul Aai, we have no trek with such cowards. Are thee not a Noose Maiden?' he responded with heavy contempt pointing to the bare circle around her neck where the fur had been ritualistically removed by a hot iron brand. A symbol of the Noose.

Knowing Lessil as he did, Turg put himself between the two and turned to speak to the Groendockr. ' My lord, you are mistaken, Lessil is a Noose Maiden no more. She is a fine sworder and honorable. In truth I tell you, that which was forced upon her is not the truth of her. '

The High Master considered the words of the knight looking to the dirt beneath his feet as if looking for guidance from the Earth.Then looked back to Lessil , this time taking in the rapier sheathed at her waist. His eyes widened like a child's who had found a very shiny toy. He walked around Turg to stand before the irrate feline. Slowly he reached out his left hand. 'May I see thy blade?'

With her anger defused by Turg's quick thinking, she slowly drew the fine blade from it's scabbard and handed it over to the old Caynn hilt first.

With hands and eyes the Master inspected the blade lovingly. Feeling with fingers the delicate design etched into the barrel hilt guard, and noting it's perfect balance.Testing it's keen edge with his thumb with a low bark of awe. Truly a beautiful and deadly weapon.

' How did thoust come by this blade ? ' asked the old Master meeting her eye once again. This time there was a tone of respect in his words.

' Charles gave it to me, a long time ago.' she said a little confused by the sudden revesal of the old Caynn. Her ears lifted some though. Now more curious than upset.

' I know it's maker, and I've seen its kin in the Hall of Heroes. I never thought to see another.Two of the five were lost, long ago.' said the Master handing the blade back to Lessil.' Ria Lessil, this blade was made by Phillip the GyrDayn, he who would become the Prophet Dolgan . This one,' he said pointing to the runes on the guard.' is called Dancer. And this blade knows your its master. Would thee forgive me Ria, for my hasty words?'

Lessil frowned then sighed, for a moment she said nothing as if deciding then spoke.'Well, you like my sword....yes, my lord I forgive you but...what's a Ria?'

'Warrior, in the Old Tongue.' he said plainly.

Throughout the exchange Turg watched without comment.Letting the situation right itself. Somthing's not right here he thought though, Bloody hell, I'm missing something here. And the realization hit him like a hammer blow, his eyes widened and his jaw dropped. Then pointing to the Master, he blurted quite oafishly' By the Old Gods, you're a Herald!'

The old Master turned to the knight, for a momnet he regarded The Rott silently then nodded in admission. At that he bowed to all and walked back to where he had left his bundle. Where he promptly sat down and crossed his legs. And became as still as the stone he revered.

'He won't move or speak again till....' Turg said still dumbfounded by the fact of the Matser's other reason for being here.

'Till what Turg? Spit it out.' Said Lessil, again frustrated with her friend's behavior.

' Well, he'll howl when the StoneLord is born.' explained Turg ,'High Masters only come out of the Mountain to herald the birth of a StoneLord, somehow they always know.'

Lessil growled low and rolled her eyes stomping over to the much bigger Caynn warrior. Once in front of him her hand lashed out, grabbing Turg by the chest plate and then proceeded to drag him down hill of their now two companions, with Turg protesting the whole way, about the claws in his chest.

Once they stopped, Lessil faced Turg once more and said in a low voice,' Turg, the closest GyrDayn are four thousand miles away. How is a StoneLord going to be born here?'

'At the Battle of Teeth, there was an UnderMaster there, Groendockr ya know, He said...'Turg replied with a hint of dread in his voice,' He said, after Halger passed, that his Gift was not lost, but would be born again in our times. We kept it to ourselves, what he said, we couldn't quite believe it. I know I didn't all these years.' Turg looked down at his friend, his face troubled and continued, 'He said it would be reborn in Onnyn. He called him GottJager.'

'What language is that, doesn't sound Caynnic?' said Lessil.

' An ancient Man-Tongue, older than Glish. I asked Charles about it once, he said it was "German", it means God Hunter.' said Turg, pausing to look back up the hill.' Thing is, Charles wasn't even surprised. Think about it lass, he wants Onnyn why? To kill Aai. Something about now that Onnyn's a hundred and fifty, he should be able to create an..uh.uh..oh yeah, an EMP thingy. Fry Aai's brainbucket like bacon or some such thing.'

' Aai's Core Matrix, and it's a mile in the ground. I know, I've been there...'replied Lessil, and then the implications of what he just told her set in, and then her stern face transformed, she wore the silliest grin Turg had ever seen. Then she laughed, a real joy filled laugh, out of this deadly little waif before him. She grabbed his great floppy-eared head and planted a kiss on his big black nose.' Turg!' she said,' Aai's Screwed!'


Submitted: March 10, 2012

© Copyright 2022 Asgrimmr Morris. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

bubba ba booshka

when I read the title I was CRUNCHing on some chips! LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLOFISh! nice work, my stories are similar you should have a read.

Sat, March 10th, 2012 11:15am

Sairahiniel

This is really good. I like how you have created so much lore, and you can tell that you understand it. It feels like you know more, not just that you have made it up on the spot. Although you may want to have another look through for spelling and grammar. :)

Mon, March 26th, 2012 12:53am

Facebook Comments

Other Content by Asgrimmr Morris

Short Story / Fantasy

Short Story / Fantasy

Short Story / Fantasy