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post #3 of (permalink) Old 11-08-11, 07:08 PM
Adrian
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Default Their Grief, My Shame.

Their Grief, My Shame.



We found her in the thick forest last winter. She was asleep, but even then she was terrifying. Her breathing was ragged, yet heavy as if she was dreaming about something she did not want to remember. She stank horribly like death and plague and she was covered with an eternity of mud, roots and feces. We all gagged and tried to reign in our disgust, but most of us vomited anyway.

She was sick and covered with sores, just coming close to her brought cold sweat pouring from our bodies. I wondered how much worse it would have been if winter had not set in and the summer sun was at its peak. As it was, snows covered most everything and frost the trees.

How a monster like this had come into being was beyond my reasoning. She was evil; I could feel it to the core of my being. The winter sun was setting as we left the cavern. We slew her quickly and without mercy while she slept. A beast like that should not be allowed to walk the earth!

I received for my leadership in the slaying, a reward of ten bearskins two gold bars and a new suit of armor, complete with sword and shield. My men all received their share of women and deerskin along with all the wine they could drink for the remainder of the winter.

There had also been a feast and celebration for our triumph; the Bears being the guests of honor. Ten thousand strong, the Bears were the largest and most feared company in all of Zhufbar. Our land stood resplendent as well as defiant, bordering the World’s Edge Mountains.

Days went by and the winter snows came to an end. Trees budded and the flowers began to bloom. Life began to emerge from the forests again and the hunters left the safety of Drackenhof Castle in order to find fresh boar, deer, rabbit and bear. Sometimes they returned with elk or wild moose.

Time passed but the hunters did not return. Their families began to petition King Bastrouth to send out a search party to find them. He, of course agreed to send out a search party and the order for the Bears to ready themselves was given.

It was still early in the spring and rain mixed in the deep white fog blurred our vision as we advanced upon our great mounts. We filled the forest and moved upon every known trail for three days in search of the hunters, but alas they could not be found. It was as if they had disappeared from the lands entirely.

It was early the next morning, before the sun broke the dawn when the horses began to stir. They began to whinny and buck and fight at their reins as they sought to escape the shadows around them.

Torches were lit and rams-horns burst into life in order to rouse the men, but most of us were already awake. The earth was shaking as if an earthquake had ripped the land and fear gripped our hearts as the morning darkness erupted in bellows of rage and vengeance.

In the darkness the bodies began to fall from the sky. They fell like rain and burst upon the ground as they landed amongst us. ‘The hunters!’ Sven said in shock. The bodies seemed to fall for an eternity, but as quickly as it had begun all became quiet once more. Ten-thousand Bears stood in shock without saying a word, waiting in the darkness.

The horses continued to fight at their reins and bucked in terror as hands grabbed them and lifted them to the tree-tops. Overcome with grief, the giants ripped the horses apart and flung them into the camp.

‘Sigmar, save us!’ the men cried as they began to panic. ‘Run for your lives!’ I ordered, but it was too late. The vengeance of the giants was upon us.

As we ran we could hear trees pulled from the ground by the roots and breaking in half. We could hear the giants bellow even as they threw them at us. We could hear men scream and horses cry out as they were plucked from the ground and torn into pieces. Blood and body parts bathed us even as the sunlight broke the horizon and we ran from them, broken and overcome by their grief.

There were seven of them who chased us; seven giants chasing ten thousand men clothed in armor and sworn to defend the lands against the forces of Chaos and the ruinous powers of the dark gods. They chased us for three days content to watch us suffer until finally exhausted and broken we emerged from the forests. There before us were the open fields that separated the forests from the castle. With all our hearts we ran from the forests begging Sigmar for help. At the forests edge the giants stopped and we thought we were rid of them.

Some of us stopped to take in ragged breaths and nurse their wounds while others continued to run for fear of their lives. Only less than a thousand of us remained as we slowed our pace thinking the giants would not break from the forest’s edge.

We heard the alarms blare from the trumpeters set upon the walls along with their screams as the giants erupted belligerently from the shadows and began to hurl the dead at the walls of the mighty fortress, Drackenhof.

We ran begging for the gates to be opened, but they remained closed for the giants were upon us now and bellowing the vengeance of their mother’s death. Though I could not understand their language I could understand the pain of the emotion held within.

The giants had never harmed us before and yet we had killed their mother. The glory I had felt at her death fled away as the shame of what we had done set in. Overcome with grief they charged bearing trees and rocks and massive bones as weapons.

I wept in fear and shame as they tore my men apart. I could hear the screams of my men as their legs and torsos were torn asunder and cast to the earth, but I could also hear the great mournful cries of the giants as they remembered their slaughtered mother.

At last I stood alone in a field of blood surrounded by seven giants, mourning children all. I wept as they turned away leaving me alive to remember. I am Svaerson Bree, giant murderer.

1,100 words not counting title.

A good reputation take a long time to build, but only a moment to destroy. Wow, that's deep! Check out the H.O.E.S. short story competition.
Other stories from Adrian.
Look up Adrian in the "Compendium" to find them. Thanks

Last edited by Adrian; 11-09-11 at 01:54 AM.
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