Quote Originally Posted by CM Kiwibird View Post
King Oroi smiled as he poured a cup of tea. He held it out for the young girl who sat before his throne. At first he was convinced her presence must be a trap, and he’d put the rest of his clan of the Pale Mongoose on alert, but as the day wore on, the girl behaved as if the two of them were a young couple, out courting, although she was safely restrained as his guest.His attempts at extracting information in his usual manner had been met with giggles and squeals of delight. The brutal tyrant who had pledged himself to the demon of the Great Wheel found this unsettling. But as his master had told him, the Bahmi would begin to go mad as the turning point approached. So he gave into the girl’s game, and let the daylight progress down into the crazy canyon. He was actually enjoying himself, up until the guard at the stairs screamed and tumbled off the side of the canyon face.A large, imposing Bahmi, armored in boiled whale hide, slung a giant stone hammer over his shoulder and strode toward them. “No offense, but the security at your keep is terrible. I merely covered my face, waved a flag of the right color, and they let me walk right up here. You might consider a call and response password, or something.”Oroi drew himself up. Ever since he had tortured that acolyte of Ovog to learn who the next Keeper of the Radiance was to be, he had been preparing for this confrontation.“Khar, we meet at last.”Khar was a formidable practitioner of primalism. He was known as “The Titan,” or the “Ram of the Wilds,” or “that guy who knocked out all my teeth in the bar room brawl,” but Oroi had been preparing. With this one act, the debt he owed his master would be complete.“Oroi!”“Khar!” the girl, tied up on the floor barked, annoyed.“Sevshee?” Khar yelled back, equally surprised, and angry.“You’re ruining our afternoon tea!” the girl snapped.“Ancestor’s trap! It’s not tea! It’s a kidnapping! He has you tied up!”“It’s called romance! I read about it in the ancient scrolls.” She became huffy and turned her back on Khar, as well as anyone whose limbs were lashed together with whale leather could.Oroi smiled. He had a speech prepared, guaranteed to put instill fear in this would be hero. The king always thought that it was important to maintain an aura of elegant sophistication before he utterly crushed someone’s hope. It conveyed strength and incited a terror that would do most of the work for him.He began imperiously, “Khar, Khar, Khar… you poor idealistic foo-”Oroi was suddenly pulled towards the much larger Bahmi, as several rocks slammed into his back and drove him forward at high speed, right into the gigantic mace made of unyielding granite. His nose broken, the king staggered about, stunned, as the massive Bahmi stared him down.“Can we just put a pen in this? That’s an idiom you know, it means to treat the conversation like a sheep you’ve penned up and are about to shear. I have to finish this discussion with my sister,” Khar said offhandedly and strode forward towards the girl, ignoring the heretofore feared Tyrant of the Wilds, who was now bleeding copiously on the floor of his throne room.“Sevshee! What are you doing here?” he demanded.“Why do you get to be the only one to dine with royalty?” she countered shrilly.“I’m not dining! I’m here to kill him!”“Oh sure, this is just what happened with Adguus! You couldn’t stand me having a suitor!” she pouted.Fury boiled up again in Khar as this old argument was brought up for literally the thousandth time, “Adguus wasn’t a suitor! He was a sheep rustler! That’s why they hung him!”“Do you know how boring life is in that yurt? Oh yeah, that’s right! YOU BUILT IT!” Sevshee stood up and threw the strips of whale leather to the ground, having worked free of the knots hours ago. She hadn’t wanted to be rude to the king.“Khar! Teth the Great Wheel demands your death, and a feast of the karma that you have hidden from him!” The tyrant was on his feet, although somewhat unsteady. His forehead sported a large gash that was still bleeding profusely, but he staggered forward with some semblance of his usual arrogance and pointed a war-hardened polearm at Khar.Khar groaned in frustration. He disappeared momentarily in a burst of light, teleported across the expansive throne room and began to pummel the once mighty tyrant of the wilds with his oversized stone hammer.“Why don’t you ever teach me to do that?” Sevshee yelled in annoyance.“The Lifewalk? Or beating an old man to death because he keeps interrupting you?”“The Lifewalk. I already know how to do the other one.” Sevshee snipped.“It takes years of training as a primal acolyte of Ovog!” Khar grunted as the tyrant fell. He didn’t know if the red he was seeing was because of his overwhelming fury, or from all the blood that Oroi had spurted out during his beating. “Ancestor’s finery! I’m going to have to get a new tunic now!” Khar kicked the sack of meat and ruined finery of the brutal king to one side and turned to face his sister once more.“There, I’m done! I’m sorry I ruined your kidnapping “date!” Would you feel better if I gave you first choice on looting the place?”Sevshee pointed at a space somewhere behind Khar. “You’re not going to like this.”Khar closed his eyes briefly, and almost instantly, rather than fury, he was infused with a sense of harmony. “Don’t tell me,” he said, quietly, “Oroi made some sort of pact with the demon Teth, and now he’s arisen as some horrible monster, ready for round two.”Sevshee blinked in horror, but her expression quickly cleared, and she smiled. “Ok then, I won’t. I call dibs on the porcelain tea set!” she said, and skipped playfully away into the banquet hall.Khar could hear the laboring groans typical of a Baac. Where the aged tyrant once was, a towering figure had manifested. Blue aethernite, the crystallized form of the negative karma that each soul accumulates throughout their life, had erupted from its skull. The giant abomination, bearing little semblance to the late king, screamed at Khar, a sound of timeless anguish, wrapped in rage and hate.“You put yourself into the Ascension Machine didn’t you?” The earlier snark had drained out of Khar’s voice as he addressed the creature. “I know life can be terrible here in the Wilds, what with the demon, the curse, and all of us hurtling through the planes. But there’s no excuse for going out of your way to make it worse. Primalism helped me. That, and forgetting things at the Beagle Bar.”Khar laughed, “You know, this whole plan of yours was for nothing. I never became the Keeper, so the demon can’t get back the missing karma with my death. I convinced some dope to take on that role, once it became clear what your plan was. No. That’s a lie. I’d been trying to ditch that “honor” for a while.”Khar reached down to his side and grabbed a wineskin. He squeezed out a healthy portion and guzzled it down. Looking up at the enormous monster that had once been a king, Khar suddenly felt nothing but pity. It was obvious that the Oroi Baac was in agony. Khar held out the skin of wine to him. “You want some? We don’t have to end this like some Ancestor’s legend.”In response, Oroi roared a bestial, otherworldly shout that pushed the Titan back several feet with its raw power. “I figured,” Khar lamented, “There’s never a happy ending in this cursed land.” He raised his hammer once more and moved forward with lethal purpose.When the commotion had died down, Sevshee walked somewhat unsteadily back into the room, laden down with full sacks. “I call dibs on the porcelain tea set, these moth silk dresses, and this really cute golden tiara. What are you claiming?”Khar leaned back in the seat. Every part of him hurt. Putting his feet up on the shattered skull of the monster helped to ease the pain, somehow. “I call dibs on this barrel of fae wine, and this throne, and the Glaive Guisarme, the symbol of office and part of the cultural heritage of the Bahmi. I think that’s fair.”“Ancestor’s wind! You’re going to try to be king, aren’t you?”“I’ll say it again. There’s never a happy ending in this cursed land. We all just spiral downward. Might as do it from a great height. Hail to the king.
Jump to post...