The Ring of Creation

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Jagtai
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The Ring of Creation

Post by Jagtai » Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:38 am

Three large beings were gathered around a roughly hewn stone table inside a small cave. Two of them, the ones arguing, were standing, while the last one, a hunchbacked female, was sitting on an equally roughly hewn stone chair.

Granak Silverblade, high priest of Mal Bakar, was arguing loudly with Nigdush Axebite, the warlord of Mal Bakar.

"I have no doubt that Kalok is a fine warrior, but Tagan is better suited for the multiple facets of this mission."

Nigdush slammed a fist in the table.

"Tagan, while a good warrior, cannot match the skill and confidence of Kalok. He is the one we need."

The two had been arguing for over an hour, with no end in sight. Suddenly, the female looked up.

"Enough. Neither will be going."

Granak and Nigdush looked at her, stunned. Granak was the first to speak:

"What do you mean, Nekai?" Nekai the Prophetess looked at him.

"Bakar has spoked to me, Granak. We must send Tanak Hammerfist." Nigdush laughed.

"Tanak? Surely you are joking!"

"Is he not a fine warrior?" Nigdush shrugged.

"Certainly, but he does not match the skill of neither Kalok nor Tagan."

"Skill is not what is required here. Curiosity is vital, and neither of your candidates possesses that particular trait. Nor do they speak the tongue of Men. Tanak both understands and speaks their tongue."

For the better part of an hour, Granak and Nigdush tried to convince Nekai of the suitability of their candidates over that of Tanak, but in the end she had her way, and Tanak Hammerfist was summoned before the trio.

* * * * *

Tanak Hammerfist was a rather average example of his kind. He had dark-grey skin, piercing blue eyes, weighed a decent three-hundred and forty-two kilograms and stood a good four meters tall. His face was flat and nose less, with a pair of nostrils in place of a nose, and a large, thin-lipped mouth filled with sharp, pointed teeth. Females of his kind considered him rather attractive, if a little young.

As he made his way to the Cave of the Prophetess, he thought about what they might want. He had only served as a warrior for a decade, and though skilled he was not yet considered old enough to lead others, having lived only some forty winters.

When he arrived at the cave, the guard posted at the entrance waved him inside, and Tanak entered the cave. He bowed deeply before Nigdush Axebite, Granak Silverblade and Nekai, then stood at the position Nekai told him to. Nekai spoke first:

"Tanak Hammerfist, son of Koran Hammerfist and Celin Whiteeye, the Council has a mission that requires your expertise." She did not mention what expertise she might be referring to. "As you are aware, our home has been wracked by earthquakes and threatened by Trog incursions for several weeks now. We fear that the Third Prophecy of Bakar may be coming to fruition. You, Tanak, must journey to Caradan and retrieve the Ring of Creation."

The Third Prophecy of Bakar stated that 'a time would come when Mal Bakar would be threatened with destruction, and that it could only be saved by the ring'. Many Seers since the time of Bakar, the founder of Mal Bakar, had tried to decipher the prophecy - and the other prophecies of Bakar - but had had little luck.

"Do you accept this mission, knowing well the potential consequences?" It was Granak who spoke this time. Tanak nodded.

"I do, Milord."

"Good. You may take anything you believe you will require, but remember - time is of the essence!"

With that, Granak and Nigdush - who had said nothing the entire time - left the cave. Nekai walked up to Tanak, her lithe three meter shape seeming old and weak next to his, and took his hand.

"Know that Bakar guides us all. You will not fail, Tanak."
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." - Bilbo Baggins
From madness comes wisdom, and from wisdom comes power.
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Re: The Ring of Creation

Post by Jagtai » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:44 pm

It did not take Tanak long to collect what he needed. The next day he set out, carrying his greataxe, a long dirk, a bow, a quiver filled to the brim with black-feathered arrows, and a pack containing rations for a week, some dried healing herbs, a blanket, and some other potentially useful items. Before leaving Mal Bakar, he stopped in at Nekai. The ancient seer gave him some last minute advice and directions:

"South of the mountains lies the Northern Waste. Tribes of barbarians share it with beasts both mundane and magical. Beware. Follow the Icy Stream and eventually you will reach the Black Hills, beyond which lies the nation of Ardan. The Ring was given to the King of Ardan as a gift over 800 cycles ago, to mark the ancient alliance. Begin your search at the Royal Court."

She hobbled over to a chest, opened it, and withdrew a marvellous silvery chain-mail.

"This belonged to a former protégé of mine. Take it, wear it. And may Bakar guide your steps."

Tanak thanked her for her advice and the chain-mail, put on the chain-mail, then made his way towards one of the tunnels leading to the surface.

It took Tanak several hours to trek the tunnel, but finally he reached the entrance cave. The entrance to the surface lay bathed in sunlight, and Tanak squinted against the harsh light. Adapted to the darkness as they were, it took his eyes several minutes to adjust to the light. When they did, he carefully ventured forth.

He stood in the foothills of a chain of tall mountains, all covered in snow. Their name, the White Mountains, seemed appropriate. Ahead of him lay a plain equally covered in snow, the terrain broken only by a few hardy pines and a great river flowing down from the mountains. The Icy Stream. After taking in the beauty of the landscape for a minute, he set out towards the south.

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Re: The Ring of Creation

Post by Jagtai » Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:43 pm

Tanak had travelled for several days without encountering other sentient life, following the Icy Stream south. As the sun rose on the third day, a small forest appeared in the horizon. Deciding to hunt for additional supplies, he changed course towards it.

He reached the forest at late afternoon on the same day. As he prepared to enter the forest proper, he heard the din of battle on the other side of a small hill. Gripping his axe, he made his way towards it at a brisk pace.

* * * * *

Wenna Blackspear was fighting for her life. She had been hunting, when three warriors from the rival Mountain Lion tribe had surprised her. The Mountain Lion tribe and the Deer Tribe - Wenna's tribe - were mortal enemies, and they had immediately set upon her.

She had already killed one of them, but the other two had driven her up against the hill, and there was no escape for her. She barely held them off with her short sword, but she was tiring rapidly, and it was a matter of time before they'd kill her - or worse.

One of the Mountain Lions thrust his spear at her again. She failed to parry it in time, and it penetrated her thigh. She fell to her knees.

Just then, a blood-curling cry came from above her. She looked up. A giant creature, wielding an enormous axe, stood on the hill. Its face was noseless and sported a large mouth brimming with sharp teeth, and a pair of piercing blue eyes. She had never seen anything like it.

The creature charged down the hill. The Mountain Lions reacted differently - one of them dropped his weapon, turned and ran, while the other - the one that had stabbed Wenna - threw his spear at the creature. The creature merely batted aside the spear, before swinging his axe, beheading the Mountain Lion with one massive stroke. It then withdrew a dirk the size of Weena's sword and threw it at the fleeing Mountain Lion. It flew through the air, embedding itself in the back of the man. The creature retrieved its dirk before coming towards Wenna. Wenna gripped her sword and prepared to die.

"Are you alright?"

Wenna was so surprised that she dropped her sword.

"You speak our tongue?"
"Yes."
"Why'd you attack?" The creature shrugged its massive shoulders.
"They outnumbered you. You looked like you needed help. Was I wrong?" Weena shook her head.
"No. Who are you?"
"My name is Tanak."
"Wenna." Tanak looked puzzled.
"I do not know that word." Weena smiled.
"It's my name."
"Ah." Wenna could have sworn that Tanak looked embarrassed. "I see." He put down the axe, put his hand in his pack, and withdrew a piece of cloth and a small pouch. He then withdrew a clay-like substance from the pouch, and applied it to the cloth.

"Hold still." He removed the piece of garment covering Wenna's thigh - causing Wenna to reach for her sword - tied the cloth around the wound, and rose.

"There. That should stop the bleeding and clean the wound." He began gathering some branches, and soon had a fire going. Wenna just observed him in stunned silence.

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Re: The Ring of Creation

Post by Jagtai » Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:44 am

Wenna woke the next morning to find Tanak watching her from across the fire. She sat up.

"Where are you going, Tanak?" She was still uneasy around him, but tried not to show it.
"Ardan."
"Ardan?" She studied him and suddenly the memory of the tales told by her grandmother stirred. "Your people...you were allied with Ardan."
"We still are. The Covenant was never broken."
"You are a Mountain Troll, a...Badabi?"
"Bakari."

Wenna stared at him.
"But you are legends. You have not been seen for more than a hundred winters."
"We withdrew when your people grew strong."
"That was three hundred winters ago."
"Yes."
"You've been hiding since? Why; you could easily have destroyed my people."
"Yes."

Wenna shook her head.

"I don't understand." Tanak shrugged.
"We did not want bloodshed. It was easier to withdraw."
"Then why have you emerged now?"
"We have our reasons."

Wenna did not press the issue. Instead she rose, ignoring the pain. She found that though it was painful, she could walk on her wounded leg. She looked at Tanak with surprise in her eyes.

"How..."
"Healing herbs. Can you make it home?"
"I'm not going home." Tanak looked puzzled. Wenna smiled. "I'm going with you. You saved my life. I owe you a debt of honour."
"I would prefer to travel alone."
"Then I will follow you."

Tanak seemed to consider it, then shrugged.

"Very well. We leave now."

He rose, put his pack on his back, and began walking south. Wenna came behind him, half-running to keep up.

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