Thursday, November 03, 2005

Chapter Four: The Usurper

Chapter Four: The Usurper

     The armor-clad warrior stepped out into the night, his hammer swinging with his easy stride. His great pain was hidden behind ash smeared and fire scored metal. The entrance to the building behind him, buried in the mountain’s side, unveiled him from the velvet shadows of an interior devoid of all life with each step. Once free from the embrace of the shaded gate he arched his arm above his head, grasping his helmet from its rear and cracking it off and removing it from his head.
     Behind the mask of the dinged helmet was a face singed, red and feverish. The hammer fell into the sand and the armor began to crack apart as he opened it up and allowed it to fall one way as he fell another, savoring the fresh air and the brief relief it brought to his raw and cooked flesh. Red flesh of his back glistened in the starlight shimmering around his inked name, Broken Spears. Several other marks were inked into his flesh, but these were by far the most prominent. Soon blisters started to form and so he spent little time relaxing and put the armor back on when his senses had fully returned from him, enduring the painful heat from his skin and the sand rubbing against the burn, each grain like a fiery spear.
     Broken Spears traveled quickly, the armor carrying his weight and moving him with superior speed and strength despite his injuries. For a the next day and the next night he walked, protected from the sun and cooled by his shell before he came to the nearest spring in the side of the mountain from which cool fresh water poured. Once again he dropped the armor about him, followed by his pack and began to wash his wounds, opening the pouch, he pulled salves and cloth which he tore into bandages for places where his blisters had begun to break and run.
He also drank deep and refilled the flasks that he carried with him. For two whole weeks he hid himself in the crack of the mountain treating his wounds with care, and suffering as scars spread across his skin. Healing was slow, and incomplete, but at that time he had rested too long. Dawning his armor, Broken Spears began the long journey home.

* * *

The evening was cool and bright with a half moon in the sky over the camp of the Clark tribe. Stars glistened across the sky and the wind blew cool, but calm, gentle enough to let the sand lay still. The Clarks were somewhat at rest, the hunters had returned and their shelters were complete for the evening, they had worked hard and all were enjoying a great feast, the greatest Clark hunters had killed well. The tribe indulged in burning a huge bonfire, despite the scarcity of fuel because they had done well at collecting and pillaging from other tribes.
The youthful tribe leader watched all and two prisoners of war were brought out and their blood was spilled at the great bonfire. Their necks were gashed and their bodies strung upside down till they drained empty, feeding the light with black pools ran into violent flames. The leader walked towards the corpses, his back to the fire and his name silhouetted against his brown skin depicting a man shackling many other men. This was a part of the name of every member of the Clark.
Other acts of violence were inscribed on there, though that was the most prominent. The name of the leader was quite long, for his acts were so diverse and he took so much pleasure in them. He was most often called Begetter of Violence. As Begetter stood before the dangling corpses he took his knife from its place on his belt and smashed the chest of the first one, striking and separating the rib cage before tearing it open, he then reached his fist into the gash and moved those hungry fingers through the soft flesh, tearing at the lungs and gripping the still heart with his fist, ripping it from its bondage within, severing it with his blade and then biting into it with a fierce passion, his lips smeared with the red of the pink flesh, as with his hands, the clear juice running down his chin.
Begetter of Violence then turned to the fire and plunged his hand into the heat before letting go, dropping the pink and red heart before stepping over to the second body, and repeating the process, though not as easily. The chest proved more difficult to shatter and separate to expose the tender organs within. Again he reached within, and tore at the dead flesh of the cadaver, letting bits run from the gaping hole before ripping what his soul desired, and once again biting deep into the strong flesh of the heart as though it were a golden red apple. His lips wrapped around it in warm embrace as his teeth pierced it before, the still warm flesh slipping down his gullet before he turned to the side and plunged this heart too into the fire with his other hand.
Reaching for the sky in celebration, all the Clark’s cheered their victory and their zealous dispatch of the prisoners. The bodies were cut down and burned, fueling the bright tongues.
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