Friday, September 30, 2011

Tales of the Sword

Hilmar waited silently on the tree limb, watching his prey. Sudhl, the huge lizard man that proclaimed himself king of the Mere of Dead Men, stalked underneath the foliage of the trees. The lizard man scanned the swamp warily, occasionally stopping and tasting the air with his forked tongue. Hilmar had been hired 3 weeks ago by a wealthy father, whose only daughter, Saphina, had been kidnapped on her way back from Waterdeep to the family's countryside estate. Having tracked the kidnappers here, to the Mere, and finding out that they'd been slaughtered by Sudhl and his kin, Hilmar quickly got the lay of the land. He'd chosen to leave his magical shield behind as that would've gotten in his way in many of the tight quarters the trees created. Twice before he'd been repulsed by the lizards, sent retreating before superior numbers. However, greed held the man's heart and he would not share the bounty by hiring any other companions for assistance.
As the lizardman slowly made his way beneath Hilmar's perch, the human brought to his lips a small set of pan pipes and blew. The resulting wail filled the air, and brought Sudhl to a halt. The king straightened and lifted his head, again slowing scanning his surroundings, his tongue darting out in an effort to sniff out any danger. The large lizardman slowly completed a 360 degree turn, his clawed hands gripping the terrible trident tighter. Never having studied lizard-folk, Hilmar hoped the pipes had truly caused the creature to become afraid. Even though he was the player, Hilmar could see how the ghostly tune could unnerve someone.
Once the creature's back was to him, Hilamr pushed away from the trunk of the tree, into midair, at the same time activating his boots that allowed him to float. After coming over the lizardman, Hilmar turned the boots off and he dropped his 260 pound frame down onto Sudhl. Unfortunately, the surprise wasn't complete as the fighter's shadow fell over the lizardman, giving it enough warning that he looked up and then lunged out of the way.
Hilmar's unnaturally sharp sword only made a slashing gouge from right shoulder to left hip as the human landed. His feet slipped in the mud and water and he submerged only to rise back up and get struck in the face by the blunt end of the king's trident. Hilmar stumbled back in the waistdeep water, spitting out blood and bits of teeth from the blow. Sudhl pressed the attack, jabbing the trident at Hilmar's face and chest. Only quick work and luck saved the fighter as he desperately parried each blow to one side or the other. In one attack, the tines of the trident caught his sword, and in an act that Sudhl obviously had use many times, the trident was twisted and the sword was pulled from Hilmar's grasp, banging off a tree trunk and sinking into the swamp.
The lizard king's eyes glittered with deadly anticipation, his prey was disarmed and would soon be tore to pieces, consumed as all enemies of Sudhl were. The man bared his teeth, and crouched down, readying himself for the inevitable charge and lunge. Sudhl obliged him, his maw open in a hiss and threw himself forward, jabbing ahead with the deadly trident. Knowing he could not manouver out of the way in time, not in this much water and muck, Hilmar stood his ground, only twisting at the last moment and turning a near instant death by impaling into a painful, and hopefully, survivable gouge in the belly. The trident's tines ripped through his sweat stained padded armor as Hilmar's left hand grabbed the haft, pulling the lizard man close to him. With his right hand he'd unsheathed a dagger he had on his belt, hidden behind his back. Driving upward with as much strength as he had, and using the creature's forward momentum, Hilmar stabbed the king beneath the ribcage and up into it's heart. One didn't become king of lizardmen by being easy to kill, however. Sudhl bit down onto Hilmar's shoulder, the king's fangs not doing as much damage thanks to the fighter's magic ring that made him harder to hit. The bite did puncture through the armor and into Hilmar's shoulder. As the life ran out of the king, his body sagged, painfully pulling the fighter down with it.
Supporting the dead weight and using the dagger as a lever, Hilmar opened the creature's jaws and let it sink beneath the waters, there to feed whatever carrion would find it. Then the human sagged against the closest tree, one hand clutching the bitten shoulder, the other pressed against the belly wound. Already, flies and mosquitos were being drawn to the open blood and sweat. Using his boots for the last time that day, Hilmar rose to the relative safety of the tree limbs. Finding his pack, he retrieved 3 of the vials of healing potions he'd purchased and downed the contents. He leaned back against the tree and waited for the potions to work. The first part was over, now the hard part. Saving daddy's little girl and getting her back to civilization.

1 comment:

James said...

Rob, I'd like to see a conclusion to this story. No hurry, just saying.