"Damn, blasted, cowardly leeches!! How are we ta sittin' here when the battle's down there?!" Fangoose Duik roared as his waved his magical, double-headed mithril axe high and growled. Stomping heavily he twiddled his nose and sneered. "Ye've a lot to explain, gold elf, and I'm not liken to forgive. Don't readily know if our barbarian friends are liken to forgive either! Not that they ain't holding out themself... But the monstrous hordes, elf!! What's got into ya?!! We can't... I-I won't!.. Dastardly, craven deeds of old," he muttered sarcastically and shook his helmeted head. "To damnable hell with all past contracts!!"
"A believer's worth is an epic discovery, most especially in times of misunderstood consequences and grand faiths," the light, riddle-filled voice of Narkel Hibbs stated as he wiggled his pointed ears. Offering a lopsided, red-faced smile he looked from a growling, axe-wielding Fangoose to his silent, concentrative, fellow adventures and shrugged. Shuffling his bare, hairy feet he lowered his flushed face to the grassy ground.
"It appears the halfling has obtained more than a phenomenal conceit and stalwartness from his late father's spirit," Okrain Malo mentioned and peered down upon the short, plump halfling. Nodding, he presented a grim smile. "True enough, from unfathomable legends, one of considerable valour and due respect must allow faithful allusions."
"Bah!! Faithful allusions, and all sacrilegious teachings!! I tell ya the hell with all unfath'nable legends and due respect!! To hell with past decisions!! We got to help 'em!! We haveta sweep the loathsome devils into the their blood ridden pit!! We haveta help the barbarians!!" Fangoose hollered. Slamming the flat of his axe against his mead-sculpted, mithril-crafted shield he began running. Not fast enough though.
"No, Fangoose!" Choria Paisson stated casually, as her slender, elven form held fast to Fangoose pumping shoulder. "Now is not the time to lose our heads, most especially one as worthy as yours, brave warrior," she added and produced a brilliant smile that soon slowed a red-faced, gasping Fangoose down. Reaching bone-crushing, callused fingers along his long, straggly, blonde beard he offered a reasonably equal, however intimidated, smirk. "Deepest, most profound apologizes, Fangoose. I, we, realize our blessing in having a gallant dwarven hero such as yourself among her oftentimes feeble party, but you must feel, deep within your heart, that we must not oppose historically set creeds of conduct. For the barbarians, for our destined friends, we must not oppose."
"Exploratory languages of love and romance sometimes intrude upon -"
"Ah, shut yer ridiculous mouth, fiddlefingers!!" Fangoose retorted, but immediately softened as he took Choria's offered, slender hand and was guided slowly back to the hesitant party. Scowling briefly at a shame-faced, smiling Narkel, he glanced below again. "I-I... I," he began, his lips fumbling with incomprehensible words and free-flying spittle. "Damn it to Dewer!! It's just so damn frustratin'!! Ye can't, ye don't know!.. I ain't no yellow-backed, slime, troll-licking coward!!"
"Of that we know, dearest Fangoose... Of that we know," Danairra Soith said and patted the broad-shouldered dwarf's sturdy shoulder. "But for those who dare humiliate themselves through irrational, unemotional, sinister conduct, against the astounding strength of war-hungry barbarians, are sure to rethink their crazy, cowardly actions deep within their parasitic, deathly throws... No matter the horrendous, demonic bounty, the contest will prove final... The horde will not, and cannot, win!" she pronounced energetically and lifted a magically-endowed, red-sparkling right hand high.
"Sure don't look that way, wizard," Fangoose replied solemnly and bowed his head. "Can't tell me ya don't see it in all its blatant malevolence. Thousands upon thousands of meager, ravenous fiends... Orcs, goblins, ogres, giants, trolls... even damn undead... against a respectfully mighty, conjoined band of fierce, mountain and tundra barbarians," he explained, groaning and shaking his head. "It just ain't right, abandoning our friends in the heat of battle."
"Agreed, friend dwarf," Okrain Malo stated and focussed deep within the vicious heart of endless battle. No matter the arguments, or the never-ending episode of fragmented relations, the usually assured, oftentimes cynical gold elf felt the prominent uncertainty within his heart. Still, both admiring and trusting Fangoose's necessary fanatics, he could truly not offer more than words could say. As a racial representative of the ancient, noble gold elf society, he could not, and would not, let troublesome emotions interfere. He could not. "But by the barbarian's personal request, not merely by 'historically set creeds of conduct'," and he delivered a brief, accusatory gaze on a youthfully vivacious and very beautiful Choria. Swallowing coarsely he moaned and averted his golden-hued eyes. No matter how hard he tried to ignore his feelings, he could not lessen the discriminatory impact of having a gullible, oftentimes irritating wood elf female in the group. Even worse, the two-hundred-and-twenty-five-year-old elf could not deny his deeply discovered affection, even a secretive, however frustrating, love for the thirty-year-old, miraculous lady of the forest. For even as her sparkling, hazel-coloured gaze locked onto his he felt his heart thunder silently. Someday, he knew, for all his cruel, hypocritical oaths to a distant, prejudicial society, he would speak to her, trust in her, maybe even spell his eternal love for a mere wood elf. "T-T-The claim exists!" he said loudly and was immediately embarrassed as all eyes stared upon him. Groaning feebly, unheard, he licked his lips, clenched his hand, and continued, "More appropriately, revealing the edge to Choria's... insightful comment... Promises were made in ferocious times of monumental understanding... The barbarians, humans, dwarfs, elves, any good folk in this side of the country... Godly kingdoms and glorified testaments await, so it is spoken, and is readily reinforced... So do not doubt our barbarian friends, Fangoose, comrades... Their path is chosen... Glorified goodness for -"
"Damn dumb gold elf priest!!" Fangoose challenged and grabbed a rough hand for Okrain's tunic. Okrain didn't bother to fight. "Would ye quit this mindless squabblin' and remembrances to old testaments!! Just look dammit!! Look!! Damn stupid, egocentric barbarians are gettin' slaughtered like a rotten house full of dung-infested fodder!! Slaughtered, Okrain!! Slaughtered!!" he screamed, his deep voice reverberating with a splendid valour. Okrain still didn't try to resist. He had no realistic argument. For all his teaching, his authoritative direction among scholarly, but juvenile, ranks in priesthood, he could not fight his diminished confidence and faith. Even as a flushed, sweaty-faced Fangoose yelled for him, and all, to look, Okrain did not lessen his intense, probing gaze.
Hundreds of feet below, underneath the protective serenity of Halo Cliff, within a shallow, expansive crater, the horrid scene unfolded. Shivering, vibrating upward with a lethal ferocity, the pain-laden terrors surfaced. Through accumulative crimson, smashed bodies, crying mortals, and the never-ending, chivalrous repulsion to every giddy, evil beast, the undying message remained strong and permanently certain. The barbarians were losing. Losing for their beliefs, for their promise to protect their symbolic homestead, but losing nevertheless. Okrain couldn't readily describe the pangs in his chest. Never in all his years had he witnessed such a callous slaughter. And never had he seen and felt the barbarian leader, Kibbal Earcraftine, reveal such a supernatural tenacity for pure revenge. But still, humanistic exhaustion stole precious essences of life. For as the embattled, heroic, blood-covered, and injured Kibbal slashed with his gargantuan, mystical, double-headed axe, fellow, worthy barbarian brothers and sisters stumbled, oftentimes fell, under the unrelenting assault. Amidst broken bodies, lost spirits, and mounting, uncaring monstrosities, Kibbal persisted.
Thousands of flickering, obsessed flames joined. Hounding, maniacal monsters howled. Kibbal Earcraftine's unbelievable persistence succumbed to a powerful, backward slash of a fifteen-foot, muscular ogre's tree-trunk club. But a song, no a spectacular, demanding note, flew free. Even as fellow barbarians tumbled, even as all essential breath was blasted from the heroic barbarian king's bloodied lips, a supreme, mystical unreality blared loudly and effectively.
"Our vow has held, Platt‘s!!" the deep, masculine, godlike voice travelled. Splitting clouds, igniting the air with a hellfire deliverance, the merciful call fell soon after to the floundering chaos of monsters monsters everywhere.
"N-N-No," Fangoose empathized instantly and seemed to slump near a wide-eyed, gaping Okrain. All around consecutive gasps resounded. Okrain felt his eternally-oriented spirit wither. Near falling from the cliff's jagged face, he felt a supportive, strong hand grab hold firmly. "N-Not fittin' to see a blessed priest die alongside a gallant barbarian," Fangoose mumbled, his eyes alight with shimmering moisture. Heaving the tall, slender Okrain back and mumbling a dwarven prayer he began walking away. "Shouldn't have happened... Damn fool boy didn't know what he was getting 'emself into... Too late."
"Happenstance, emotions override, but precious little regard for deathly allusions or living subjects... A promise was made, and most certainly friends, it shall be kept," a suddenly confident, smiling Narkel Hibbs hinted. Pointing a chubby index finger below he cackled casually. "Pure faith retains unrestricted promises, in such that a gloriously supportive, unseen deity, might decree," and he pointed toward the heaping mound of empty, bloody shells.
"'Nough of this talk!!" Fangoose howled and banged his axe against his shield. Growling mightily he stomped toward the four. "A promise was made is a promise made!.. But the barbarians are dead dammit! Dead!!" and a familiar, vengeful sparkle gleamed in his jade-green orbs. "The battle has only begun," he stated, grinned determinedly, and cast a quick glance on Danairra. "Damn Platt‘s and every merciless, tormenting god!! There's a whole host of monsters that need a greeting with this 'ere axe, and I'm designated to give it to 'em," he announced with a strange wink. "Help me out, will ya, wizard, cause a glorious battle's awaiting."
"For our well-renowned, valiant barbarian friends, and the good of natural order, let our continued faith defeat all such lingering evil, gentle, heroic Fangoose," Choria added and brushed a delicate, smooth hand along Fangoose rosy cheek.
"The endowed commitment is over, Okrain. The barbarian god has provi-" Danairra began, her supple fingertips lighting with an arcane, misty lime-greenery. Suddenly she stuttered and stopped.
"Faithful stronghold retaliate in an age of disconcerting distractions," Narkel said and pointed. A concentrative, deeply-troubled Okrain followed the riddle-filled halfling's repeated gesture, as did everyone else. "Arise, mighty defender, and speak forgotten songs of battle," his usually docile, quiet voice called in an odd, booming voice.
Far below, impossibly alive under the oppressive, monstrous battery, Kibbal Earcraftine rose. Inconceivably fast, furious, the broken, blood-covered human deity sweep swiftly and released, near decapitating the stunned, roaring ogre. Yelling again to an invisible god, the youthfully gigantic and muscular barbarian charged headlong into another massive swell of eternal blackness. An absolutely impossible battle to win, Okrain knew. But all such sensibilities soon diminished. Kibbal had miraculously survived! Okrain felt a sensational, however tentative, buzzing within his chest. A belief? Surely not, but what? What force was capable of raising the dead, restored and spiritually incomparable? Who? What?
From darkened, cloud-lit heavens an immediate, torrential response came. Hurtling downward, filling the night sky with scattered veins of pulsating orange the necessary deliverance came. Exploding upon earthly inhabitants, both living and dead, transforming into Herculean, jagged hammers upon impact, the scene was both amazing and entirely startling. For as minuscule and titan-like monsters erupted, tumbled, or leapt, a sight unbelievable rose incredibly free. For as the lethal, godly missiles slammed unforgivably hard, utterly destroying once organized ranks of monstrous hosts, a subtle, but noticeable change occurred. A change without immediate explanation or eventual comprehension. For the barbarians, Kibbal Earcraftine, and his fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters, survived. Under the inaudible, magical tutelage of godly justice and moral compassion, the once slaughtered barbarians received the brunt of life. As if every streaming, thundering hammer revived.
"Damn nuisance of an undeserving god, steals all needful battles," Fangoose complained, but shrugged and smiled. "Me own gods are gonna haveta have a real good talk with that one... Spoiling a good, dishonest fight!"
High overhead a searing, echoing cackle shrilled. Soon after a blur of ignited, brilliant orange lightning streaked. Forming into a massive, crushing hammer a hundred feet atop the stunned, suddenly silent party it howled fiercely and smashed hard into the earth, fifty-metres away.
"Hah!!" a shaken, growling Fangoose yelled abruptly and jabbed his axe at the tremendous, smoky circumference a short distance away. As sizzling, slithering, orange veins collapsed into deep earth, as rolling throws of lively, crisp smoke floated toward the five, he hollered, "What in hell -"
"Saving your soul, Fangoose... Saving your soul," Okrain chided lightly, although his voice shook from the outstanding, powerful scene.
"Manifestations aplenty, but here lies to secret -"
"Ah, shut ye and yer father's mouth, fiddlefingers!" Fangoose whined and rubbed at his temples.
"Maybe a lesson to be construed in regular an irregular behaviour, Fangoose," Danairra advised and broke into a light laugh.
"Ah, not another riddle-filled halfling in our midst," Fangoose cried and raised his axe-and-shield-wielding hands high.
"Do not fear, sweet Fangoose, I shall protect you," Choria joked alongside an already giddy Danairra and Narkel. Okrain, on the other hand, remained serenely quiet. For a swelling, comforting power flowed within again, replacing lingering doubts and admissible errors. Feeling his fingers tingle, his mind race, and a warning crow cry deep within he gritted his teeth and stared deep within the fading mists and streaking orange tendrils.
"Platt‘s, apparently, has left a present, or prevented one," he stated and clapped his hands together. A shivering, excited, flaming ball of white flared from his twiddling fingertips. "Your haphazard prayer was answered, dwarf... The battle continues indeed, in full flight," and he launched a first, lightning volley deep within silhouetted, monstrous ranks. A shrivelling roar responded. Other hunched, howling, dark forms replaced the fallen victims. Another demonic tactic of attack, or a gift from Platt‘s? Okrain honestly didn't know.
"Gettin' to like this Platt‘s-god... Maybe so much that I'd be liken to renounce my dwarven faith and join in the barbarian's exploits," Fangoose chuckled as Choria launched three consecutive arrows into the strategically fiendish ranks. "Heh, an maybe I'll actually thank the heavens for a final contest... But not till this here axe has tasted sweet revenge of goblin and ogre blood," he announced gaily and charged headlong into the thickening throng of featureless shadows. Too soon all, including Narkel, followed.
"Unorthodox heavens indeed, friend Fangoose," a chasing, light-footed Okrain said quietly and laughed wholeheartedly in a rare showing of humility. Launching several volleys of repeated bolts into the bestial ranks, he smiled wholly with each pulse of released energy, and yelled, "Let faithful mediations and droll renouncements prevail, friend dwarf... For the better glory of all!!
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"To tell u a little bit about myself, i'm a 28 year-old freelance writer/artist who is fascinated by unexplainable phenomena and fantastic, world-wide discoveries. Also, as a health-conscience, fitness-buffing vegetarian who has a great compassion for life, and extraterrestrials, i am continually amazed by good-hearted, however ludicrous human adventures. To the unreachable unknowns and beyond! :) Presently, postings of my manuscripts appear in The Inditer, and The Outpost."
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