Friday, February 22, 2013

Friends like these: Part Two

            The caravan marched off at first light. It consisted off five knights dressed in bright yellow armor leading the way on horseback followed by a platoon of eighteen spearmen with two men out front bearing the banner of their patron lord, a crow alongside a burning sun, replete with military streamers signifying the campaigns of the knights and spearmen. A large supply wagon followed them lumbering along pulled by a team of workhorses. Dark Francis followed in his coach driven by two hired villagers. Hump rode next to them on his own horse. He wore head to toe chainmail, which showed some signs of pitting from old rust that had been scrubbed away. A large horned and dented battle helm sat on his head, which was framed by his broadsword and double bitted axe slung across his back. An evil row of daggers hung around his belt.
            The lead brightly colored Knight broke off from his position and rode to the rear where he took up a position beside Dark Francis’s coach.
            “We’ll go as far as the ferry crossing and then we’ll camp for the night before going across,” the Knight informed Dark Francis.
            “What’s your name good sir knight?” Dark Francis asked.
            “Kendrick, sir,” the knight replied.
            “Sir Kendrick, I would advise that we take the ferry crossing before we decide to stop for the night. We’ve had a walking scourge in the forest. One of my villages was even attacked. No doubt the work of some evil black magic. I’d advise that we get to the other side of the river for safety purposes,” Dark Francis said.
            “I wouldn’t worry about your safety sir,” Sir Kendrick replied. “We have a platoon of our crack spearmen and five of the bravest knights in service to our lord. We can protect you sir.”
            “It’s not me I’m worried about. If all of you die how can I find your lord to help him?” Dark Francis asked without sarcasm.
            “I think we’ll be able to handle ourselves sir,” Sir Kendrick said. “We’re no strangers to ghouls and demons.”
            “I’m sure you’re not,” Dark Francis said.
            The trip to the ferry crossing was uneventful. They reached it in time to set up a camp of two canvas tents in the light of a purple dusk. The spearmen set up a large canvas tent for the knights and then pitched a second for all of them to use collectively. It was more of a large lean-to, and they built a few fires along one edge of it to cook and keep warm. Three men were to remain awake at all times each taking a shift during the night. Dark Francis decided to keep to the relative safety of his coach. He knew that at least nothing could come creeping up on him in the middle of the night.
            Hump decided to bunk with the spearmen. Not only for the shelter, but also for the grog, this was issued to the men from a barrel carried on their supply wagon. It was a vial green alcohol, which kept up their morale and could also be used to remove paint from wagons. Hump decided to take the second and third watch for two their share of grog, which he took full advantage. The night was cool and pleasant and lit by a moon that had just begun to wane. Hump drank and listened to the two soldiers converse around a fire they kept to just the red coals.
            “…I had the best tavern wench ever on that campaign,” remarked a tipsy spearman who leaned heavily on his spear while sipping his grog. “She had a nice meaty ass and tits the size of your head. I stayed nice and warm that night fellas I tell ya.” He then broke out in a giant laugh. “I tell ya I would have asked her to marry me if we weren’t marching off the very next day.” His next laugh was cut short by cold dead hands wrapping around his face pulling his neck toward opening biting jaws. The soldier let out a blood-curdling yell before the walking corpse tore out his throat.
            “To arms!” yelled the second soldier on watch before two of the dead dragged him to the ground and began to devour his face.
            Hump full of grog did not fully grasp the situation at first. He only chuckled to himself at the foolishness of the two soldiers and then tipped up his mug to chug the rest of its contents, while chaos broke out all around him.
            Sir Kendrick emerged from the knight’s tent in only his trousers and boots bare chested with his sword and shield in hand. He quickly dispatched the three creatures already in the camp severing their heads from their shoulders.
            “The scourge,” he muttered to himself. “It’s the scourge boys! You know what to do!” Kendrick then severed the heads of the fallen soldiers, preventing their imminent reanimation.

            The spearmen jumped into action immediately forming a square in the center of the camp. The four other knights burst from their tent fully armored with shields and swords ready. Their faces covered by the ornate visors of their helmets. Each took a position at the corners of the formation with Kendrick calling out orders in the middle.
            Hump threw his now empty mug into the fire, the residue of the grog bursting into a blue flame. He unslung his axe from his back and readied himself his back to one of the sides of the formation just in front of soldiers’ spears, which they held level to the ground. Evil iron pointed things ready to seek out soft flesh.
            The sound of dead leaves and twigs crunched under foot from their shuffling steps was the only noise the horde made.
            “Hold fast men!” called Kendrick. “Don’t break formation. Keep your head and these monstrosities won’t be able to touch us!”
            Hump charged forward by himself into the thick of them. He did not know the meaning of restraint and would rather fight an enemy by charging full on into their midst instead of hanging back like a coward. He would prefer to die how all of his kin had done in the past, by charging into battle and letting the gods decide the victor in the end.
            Hump’s axe was a blur of activity as it sliced through one skull after another spraying rotten brain all over the forest floor. The spearmen behind him quickly dispatched any of the dead that made it past Him. Hump was in a berserker rampage. The dead fell before him like blades of grass none of them making it close enough to touch him let alone bite him.
            The each spearman stabbed efficiently with his spear, making sure to line up each strike perfectly without hurry sending the iron tip of their spear through a fiend’s head and then back out again only to line up another strike with the same result, with a steady even tempo. The knights protected the corners, severing heads with their swords and using their shields as bludgeons smashing the heads of the dead. They were a perfect square of efficient death, slaughtering the walking dead like sheep.
            The entire affair only lasted about fifteen minutes, but by the end, they were all panting heavily surrounded by a pile of bodies and waiting for another wave. The only thing that came walking up to them was Hump, who was covered from head to toe with bloody mess, who headed to the supply wagon and poured himself another tall mug of grog.
            “I think that’s the last of them men. One squad of men fan out and make a perimeter guard. The rest of you gather up these bodies to burn, and someone wake up that damn ferryman!” yelled Sir Kendrick.
            “What’s going on out here?” asked Dark Francis, dressed in an ankle length nightshirt, slippers and nightcap.
            “You were right sir,” Sir Kendrick said approaching him. His armor covered in blood and gore. “We lost three of the horses, two of our men and one of your hired villagers. The other one ran off.”
            “It’s so hard to find good serfs these days,” Dark Francis remarked. “What about my man Hump?”
            “He’s fine sir. It looked like he took on half of the creatures by himself. We’re letting him help himself to the rest of the grog we have,” Sir Kendrick said. “If I didn’t know better I would swear he was a demon.”
            “Unfortunately not. I probably wouldn’t have to pay him if that were the case,” Dark Francis said. “Well I’ll be in my carriage. Let me know when we’re across the river.”
To be continued…

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Friends like these: Part One

            “Sir we have traveled for many miles to seek your legendary knowledge of medicine to ask you for a request,” said a Knight dressed in bright yellow armor.
            “I’m listening, but I warn you I can barely hear you over your armor,” replied
Dark Francis from his stone chair in the great hall, a stocky white calico cat purring softly in his lap as he absentmindedly rubbed her ears. “Be quick about it, or Molly here will roast you where you stand.” The cat gave a snorting little sneeze and expelled a small cloud of black smoke.  
            “We ask that you journey with us to our land to treat our lord,” said the Knight.
            “What plagues him?” asked Dark Francis.
            “A witch angered by my Lords ruling in a land dispute callously and pettily put a spell on our lord. He now has the skin of a lizard and is repulsive to look upon,” said the Knight.
            “Why don’t you get the witch to reverse the spell?” asked Dark Francis.
            “We hanged her sir,” replied the Knight.
            “Ah, now you want me to fix the problem?” asked Dark Francis.
            “Yes sir,” said the Knight.
            “Well as much as I’d like to hang out with a bunch of knights pretending to be the sun to help out your lord, but I think I’m going to have to pass,” Dark Francis said.
            “Won’t you reconsider our request,” the knight said, as a squire produced a small chest from his knapsack and opened it to reveal that it was full of precious stones.
            “When can we leave,” Dark Francis replied.
To be continued…

Saturday, February 2, 2013

I'm Terribly Sorry: Part Four

            Dark Francis stood on a hill to with the sun behind them staring down into the main road to the village. The morning sun glinted off their mail and armor. Dark Francis wore his light mail. He didn’t like cumbersome armor. Hump however was covered from head to toe in cruel looking layers of black, spiked metal. His axe in one hand a broadsword in the other. Dark Francis wielded his fire, and a metal staff.
            The cold pale villagers milled around haphazardly around the village, bumping into one another occasionally.
            “Look at them down there Hump. Brainless, savage, primal. These filthy beasts do not know whom they messed with. They will be the evidence for the entire world to see that no one tries to harm Sir Isaac Bartholomew Esquire Francis the Third. We will kill the men, we will slaughter the women and we will spit their children on spikes. No one will survive,” said Dark Francis. “Are you ready Hump?”
            “Yes, Sir. We will crush them,” replied Hump.
            “Alright Hump! Charge!” Dark Francis yelled.
            The shambling members of the recently reanimated cocked their heads in the direction of the noise, before they were separated from their bodies by the keen edge of Humps axe.
            “Yes, die vermin. You ungrateful pests!” Dark Francis yelled as Hump trampled a group of small rotting children.
            One of the villagers latched onto Hump’s warhorse and began to futile biting the plate armor. Hump crushed the top of the man’s skull with the pommel of his sword.
            Dark Francis rode through the village setting the buildings ablaze with a stream of fire he shot from his hands. Villagers slowly staggered out of the burning buildings until slowly collapsing from their injuries. Feet, fingers, eyes, teeth, toenails and nipples flew through the air as Hump cut down each of the villagers one to three at a time. By the time the sun was setting, the blood of the villagers was splashed across the soft ground.
            “Die you filthy thing. Die, die, die, die,” Dark Francis said punctuating each word with a whack of his staff into a villager’s skull that was quickly turning to mush.
            “Look, sir,” Hump said pointing with a bloody sword toward the tree line.
            Villagers began to emerge from the shadows of the trees armed with pitchforks and sharpened sticks.
            “Get ready Hump. Here comes some more of these ignorant inbred bumpkins,” Dark Francis said.
            The villagers walked to the edge of the village and gazed out at their scorched village and the dismembered bodies that littered the avenues. They grew in number until Hump and Dark Francis were surrounded, then a cheer suddenly roared out from the crowd. “Huzzaaah!”
            The village sheriff emerged from the crowd and yelled “Lord Francis has saved us from the plague of undead! Three cheers for the heroes!”
            “Do you have anything to say Sir?” asked the Sheriff.
            To which Dark Francis replied “I'm terribly sorry. Did you say undead?”

The End.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I’m Terribly Sorry: Part Three

            A cold choir of moans echoed across the hills. Figures staggered through the dim streams of moonlight, which cut through the darkness of the forest. Their eyes white jewels encased in rotten settings of dead flesh, staring past their wanting outstretched hands.  
            “Hump, Hump, what is the awful racquet? Are the feral cats fighting over the trash heap again? Hump!?” Dark Francis called out, but it was met with no response from his faithful man Hump. “Hump! Where are you?”
            There was still no answer except for the faint sound of nails being raked across wood. Francis looked out into his dim quarters illuminated only by the dying embers of his fire.
            Dark Francis decided to investigate and slipped from his fur covered bed and donned a robe over his cream-colored nightshirt. He lit a small candle and grabbed a small sack coughing dust, which he deposited in his robe pocket. He listened carefully at the noise and began to follow it back to its origin through the dark halls of his keep.
            “Hump is that you? Hump where are you?” Dark Francis called into the darkness as he walked, but there was still no reply.
            The noise led him to the commoner’s entrance where he heard only the erratic scratching.
            “Damn cats,” Dark Francis muttered to himself. “I’ll show them who they just woke up.”
            Dark Francis flung the door open to find a stocky little calico cat sitting patiently among a forest of legs. Dark Francis’s gaze followed them up slowly to see the pale, cold faces of a group of villagers. The cat dashed instantly between Dark Francis’s legs.
            “What are all of you doing outside my keep?” Dark Francis demanded.
            The horde reached out their hands simultaneously to grasp at Dark Francis.
            “I said be gone!” Dark Francis shouted as he unloaded the pouch of coughing powder into the faces of the horde.
            The mass stopped for a brief second as if confused by the mist in the air and then lunged again. Dark Francis fell to the floor kicking out violently crawling back across the floor and then he was up again in full run in escape of the horde that rushed inside the hall like a crashing wave. Evil grasping hands and gnashing green teeth were only feet behind him and closing each precious inch with each passing moment.
            “Hump! Hump! Come save me! The villagers are revolting! They’re trying to kill me!”
            The shuffling mass followed Dark Francis into one of the old meeting halls filled with benches and tables, the place where his father used to have his war councils. He tripped over a protruding bench sending him into a row of stools. He tried to extricate himself from the jumbled mess, but they were already on top of him. An old woman opened her mouth as if to yell something at him. This is it, Dark Francis thought, and then the top half of her head disappeared as if it had been ushered out of existence with a waved hand. Then the next to closest fell the same way.
            Hump had charged in on the villagers axe in hand. His first swing took off the top off an old woman’s head. The next took two men through the neck at the same time, their heads made a dull thud as they hit the stone floor. The last three he dispatched in quick succession, each across the chest and arms, his axe cut a clean path through flesh and bone with no more effort than if he were skimming the blade through water.
            “Are you alright Sir?” Hump said. Hump took up position in front of the door and dispatched the villagers as they staggered in like he was some immovable killing machine. It was if the villagers were walking into the jaws of a meat grinder.
            “Where the hell were you?”
            “In the privy Sir,” Hump said crushing a villager’s skull like a rotten walnut with the broadside of his axe.
            “I told you they would come for me sooner or later, the filthy ignorant things.”
            “Right as usual Sir,” Hump said as he took off the head of teen boy who stepped through the door.
            “What barbarians! They even sent their children after me,” Dark Francis commented.
            “Truly depraved individuals,” Hump said splitting a villager like a piece of kindling.
            After what seemed like an eternity, the shambling horde was put down. All that was left were the dismembered parts that littered the hall.
            “Well if it’s a fight they want than it’s a fight they’ll get. These stupid villagers can’t get rid of me so easily. Hump prepare my war horse. We’re going to teach these filthy villagers a lesson,” Dark Francis said, as the morning sun broke the horizon.
To be continued…