His Gods' Decree by Dagorath
His Gods' Decree: Rise
Date: 26 January 2006, 1:37 am
The first of the two suns rose over the horizon, drawing back the greyness of night and lending colour back to the world. Its swift running gaze ran over sprawling plains, climbing mountains and large, tranquil lakes. The dawn also swept over several ancient pyramid-shaped structures, but they were too secluded for the inhabitants of this land to find yet.
The sun's light ran up a cheerful, hurrying river to a deep valley within a mountain range. Large, goat-footed creatures in huge flocks ranged the fertile land, eating and sleeping as they would.
A small, wooden hut lay nestled in one corner of the valley. It was a simple, single-storey bungalow with a well-fitting door and small fenced yard behind, where several large, plump flightless birds strutted around, unaware of their imprisonment.
A few units passed. The first sun rose higher and the second peeked over the horizon. A deafening roar came out of the bungalow, and then the door was thrown wide open. A huge creature came striding out.
It was what those of a later time would call a Jiralhanae, or Brute. One of the finest specimens ever, the huge ape-like creature had silvery skin and small, feral eyes. White hair grew straight upwards in a Mohawk on its shiny head, characteristic of its sub-species.
It strode out of its bungalow and surveyed the land. The two suns revealed the chattering river, the herds of animals and the swift morning.
With unusual and frightening agility, the creature bounded towards one of the herds of the large sheep-like animals. Seeing the danger, the lookouts within the flock sounded the alert and the entire herd ran away as fast as it could on their stubby legs.
Too late. The creature had grabbed hold of a small kid trailing at the back. It pulled hard and the animal fell down. The Brute grabbed the animal and raked its stomach open with one long, sharp claw. Pulling out the innards, it stretched the aperture still further and gorged itself on the kid's flesh.
The Brute's name was Rukt.
As he ate his morning meal, Rukt smeared the dark crimson over his muscular torso, until he was split into two: his dark chest and his light-coloured legs. He had no idea why he did this; it seemed like some sort of primal urge. When he felt the warm blood trickling down his chest, he could feel strength flow into every limb.
Having finished, he ran to the river and jumped in. Still quite near its source, the river was very shallow and its bottom covered with sharp rocks, but Rukt knew every stage of his stream. He swam to the middle of the valley and was about to dive deeper when his gods spoke to him.
Rukt had always received messages from the gods. They had played a real part in his life. It was they who had told him to kill his mother and seriously injure his father. They told him where to go when the clan tried to hunt him down. And now, they were telling him to go back.
Rukt surfaced and ran back to his bungalow, picking up a roughly woven burlap sack within the central room. Grabbing the birds that strutted in his back yard, he shoved them unceremoniously into the sack, along with a few strips of dried meat. They would provide all the sustenance he needed, for a few days at least.
He walked outside, facing his bungalow door again. Nothing held emotional significance for Rukt, but this dwelling had sheltered him for five mega-cycles already. He owed it a debt.
The gods decreed it. Rukt went into the mountains behind his bungalow and gathered dried leaves and dead branches. His enormous strength allowed him to rip a gigantic limb off a tree. Pilling all the material within the hut, he took out flint and tinder and ignited the branches spilling out of his door, before grabbing his sack, swinging it over his shoulder, and running off at a brisk pace.
He jogged down the line of the river, hearing the soft crackling of the flames. Soon, it grew until it drowned out the quiet sounds of the river and the frantic bleating of the goat-footed animals in the valley.
There was a final loud crack, then a boom. Rukt turned just in time to see his bungalow explode in a gush of flames and a shower of sparks. He jumped into the river, holding his bag with its live contents high above the water level, as fire raced across the grass.
It was smooth sailing hereon. Rukt bounded down the line of the river, journeying out of the valley in the direction of the plains. He ate one of his birds every day. When the supply was exhausted, he caught wild animals to eat.
He remembered the route faintly in his mind. Brutish as he was, within his skull was a slow yet shrewd brain. He would follow the river, and then up along the line of one of its tributaries into another mountain valley. And then
The fire had died down after a cycle. But smoke rose from the wreckage. He would have to get under cover for a while.
On the fifth cycle from the burning, Rukt heard the soft pad of feet on grass some way ahead. Burrowing quickly behind a huge thorn bush, he watched as two Brutes came running up the trail. Their fur and skin were dark and they wore short swords sheathed on their belts, but no armour. Evidently scouts, their pace was very quick, and Rukt had only hidden just in time. His keen ears picked up their speech as they jogged along.
"Blood of our forefathers," one swore, "I swear that it is probably some hunter who accidentally set the forest on fire. I cannot believe why the Chieftain wants us to waste our time up here."
"Hush!" the other exclaimed. "You never know. His eyes and ears are everywhere. Sometimes, I can swear that he views me in my own house!"
"'Tis true," the first Brute agreed. "Those filthy Grey-skins, curse them!" He spat on the grass.
The Brutes were nearly at Rukt's position. They were silent now, their eyes fixed on the smoke curling up from Rukt's erstwhile home. His dark eyes followed them as they padded past his bush.
When they were five strides away from him, Rukt pounced. Running silently up behind, he swung a huge fist into the first of the scouts' skulls. With an ugly crunch, he went down.
The other Brute span round and reached for his sword, but Rukt was too fast. His left foot snapped out, kicking his opponent's right hand. The kick was so hard the arm snapped instantly.
The Brute snarled in pain and tried to reach for his sword with his other hand, but Rukt kicked again. Jumping high, his left foot smashed into the Brute's face and crushed his skull in.
Rukt landed on the grass again and inspected the corpses. They sported belt pouches that contained dried strips of meat, which he commandeered. But there was no identification.
Shrugging, he continued on his way, leaving the corpses of the Brutes to rot. Having gone down the line of the stream for many miles already, he finally went up the line of a tributary just as he could see the faint gleam of the plains.
On the tenth cycle from his setting out, Rukt arrived. Staring up the valley from the cover of a sprawling tree, he could see the slender, weak Drudges working on wide fields, tending grain fields and livestock. The other sentient species on the planet, the Drudges had long been enslaved by the Brutes and served as cheap labour.
Their overlords paced between the fields, dealing out heavy blows for weakness or inability. The Brutes strode on the tracks, greeting each other enthusiastically in their deep growls, while laying out retribution on the downtrodden Drudges.
They all stopped as an enormous grey-skinned Brute strode onto the fields. Wielding a heavy hammer and covered in thick, dark armour, it was an imposing presence.
There was silence for a few seconds, and then it snarled, "What are you all waiting for? Get back to work!"
The Brutes bowed and the Drudges lowered their heads again. The armoured Brute glared at them for a while before walking back up the valley.
Rukt's eyes followed the creature. It walked up the broad path from the fields towards a tall city. His eyes widened as he saw it.
Little Glen had changed drastically from five mega-cycles ago. When he had fled from it, all its defences were wooden palisade walls and a small wooden watchtower in the centre of the village. Now, it was an imposing walled town with a castle nestled within its centre.
Rukt missed the city. He could pose as just another weary traveler, disappear into the crowd. No one would recognize him. He could say he was born in a village far away, wanted to find a new life in the city, all that crap
Rukt cracked his knuckles. The pops sounded like wood in a crackling fire.
His Gods' Decree: Recruitment
Date: 2 February 2006, 3:53 am
Trying to look slightly less enormous, Rukt started up the path towards the fields. The Brute guards looked startled when they saw him. Some bowed, some nodded their heads, but he could sense an underlying tension and hatred. The grey-skinned Brutes in Little Glen were obviously not liked.
There was a more obvious change in the Drudges. Frequently downtrodden and enslaved, Rukt couldn't blame them for their resentment. But any fool could recognize the immediate explosion of hatred when he walked past.
Continuing up the path, he reached the town gates. Two Brutes wielding long spears guarding it immediately knelt. When they didn't get up, Rukt frowned and said, "You may rise."
They got up and one asked, "Good day, sir. You are not from here?"
"No," Rukt replied. "I come from a village away up north." He waved vaguely in the direction of the mountains.
"Very good, sir. The Chieftain has asked that ones of your" the guard gestured clumsily towards Rukt's silvery skin "be invited to see him."
Rukt frowned. He had wished to lay low for a while, so as to learn more about the town. Presenting himself to the Chieftain would place him directly in the spotlight. But not doing so could have the same consequences disobeying the leader of the town would not leave a good impression.
Rukt smiled and said: "But of course. Lead the way."
The guard led him through the busy streets towards the castle. As he passed, Rukt could see shopkeepers crying their wares, guards marching around, and endless streams of Drudges running messages, carrying goods or sweeping the streets. Little Glen had changed beyond all comprehension.
The castle moat was guarded by a further six Brutes in leather armour, who waved them on. Passing a tall, draughty hall, they entered the throne-room of the Chieftain. Evidently he fashioned himself as a king of some sort, or the High Chieftain.
The Chieftain, a huge but aging Brute with the distinctive Mohawk and silver skin, immediately leapt down from his high seat, flinging a goblet of dark wine aside. Wearing a cape of dirty fur, his smile was broad and genial, but Rukt could saw his cold, calculating eyes. Whatever it was, the Chieftain was not welcoming him simply because they had the silver skin.
"Welcome, my brother!" he cried, clasping Rukt's arm. He reciprocated with a polite nod of his head. "Welcome to Little Glen!" He grinned at the antiquated name whatever it was, the town was not little. "How was your journey?"
"It was fine," Rukt said evasively. "Why have you summoned me, sir?"
"Oh, merely that I wish to help those of our higher race," he said smiling, pointing at his distinctive skin. "I can offer you a good job as one of my aides " he pointed at an advisor who stood in a shadowy corner. The Brute nodded.
Rukt considered this. Accepting would put him under the Chieftain's command. But insinuating himself could allow him to have greater knowledge of the town, and thus a better ability to follow the decrees of his gods.
The Chieftain's eyes darted to and fro, watching Rukt's face as he thought. Rukt let him sweat for a while. Finally, he said, "I accept your offer, Chieftain."
The change in the Chieftain was astounding. Before, he had been genial and kind. He was now cold and commanding.
"OK, my friend," he said, by the meaning of "friend" was very different. "I'll have someone take you to your lodgings. I want you reporting here within the unit."
"Of course, sire," Rukt replied, every inch the respectful servant.
A Brute lead Rukt out of the castle to a house on the edge of the town. Relatively large, it was sparsely furnished with beds, tables, storage compartments and tastefully placed ornate vases and ceremonial weapons.
Half a unit later, decked out in leather armour and the signature hammer of the "grey-skins", Rukt's status had changed even further in the eyes of the populace. The tension had grown to outright fear and anger. It was like a thunderstorm. And he knew if he ever went over the line, the whole town could come crashing down in civil strife. The Chieftain was running a very risky game here.
The Chieftain assigned him to supervise the shepherds watching over the livestock of Little Glen. The previous silver-skinned Brute assigned there had been set upon by the other Brutes and seriously injured, but the Chieftain was not concerned. "You can take care of it, I'm sure", he'd said jovially. Then he said, "Or else".
Rukt was troubled when he went to the pastures, which were located near the fields he had passed just coming up that morning. Greeted by sullen-looking shepherds who looked like they would pounce at him if he so much as opened his mouth, it looked like achieving his goal would be very difficult indeed.
But his gods would help him. Rukt was sure of it.
Author's Note: Very bad hair day today. Just consider this as a bit of filler. Maybe it's cos I'm listening to Maroon 5?