His Gods' Decree: Rise
Posted By: Dagorath<email@example.com>
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.