Wrath of the Righteous
This giant Kellid warrior looms over most men and a light can be seen in his eyes that can only be described as - brutally determined.
Can that truly be a man?
Words Ralthanar often hears when he enters a tavern or onto the training grounds.
Impossibly tall and impossibly large, this Kellid is a man that is quickly noticed when he moves and even quicker left alone. Tho he is menacing in stature, those that do bring up the courage to speak to him quickly find that he is a pleasant and even gentle monolith, but even those that call him friend have seen him in quiet contemplation alone (odd enough for a barbarian) with a look in the eyes that seems to scream of death and destruction in the near future for any that might cross him. What he is thinking – no one has had the courage to ask.
At least – none that are alive…..
“Sacrifice the big one last – I’m sure the Storm king will be pleased with that one. "
This had always been Ralthanars burden. Being of large frame made him a bigger target than the other children in games of strength, dexterity and hunting. Yet it also helped in winning – he wouldn’t begrudge that, but did they have to test him every single day with every menial task!
“Yes boss – will do” says the small figure in its robes of deepest red. Ralthanar could almost believe as he watched that they had been soaked in the blood of tens if not hundreds of innocent men, women and children. He had heard of these –filth- that worshiped the demons that his grandfather and chief of their tribe told him stories of – the ones that had destroyed his homeland of Sarkoris and the beautiful city of Iz and made it their own. To see one this close filled Ralthanar with the burning he had felt many times in his young life – a fire that would not be quenched with words. His father had feed this burning – telling him it was a sign that he was meant for great deeds and to help bring the Kellids vengeance upon the hordes that had stolen their once glorious lands.
“Ha, look at him. Bet he wishes those bindings were off huh – can almost see the fire popping out his eyeballs haha. Soon enough lad, that emotion will be put to great use in calling forth our lord. Maybe you’ll get to glimpse his greatness as your hearts blood drains from you, no? “ the little one scoffs as he moves past Ralthanar to another bound man – his younger brother, Borgenid. “Wonder how angry this will make him?” as he plunges the wicked and putrid knife into Borgenids stomach.
Ralthanars scream rips from deep in his soul as his brothers entrails spill, slowly at first then rushing out over the patterns and designs the cultists have drawn over the floor of his families’ small hut, as if pulled by a giant invisible hand.
“Thought as much” says the figure in the center of the sigil with a sneer “they always scream and cry in the end – I had higher hopes for this one, I could almost believe he would rip his own arms out of the sockets to get at us.”
“Still might if I’m lucky” the small one laughs as he tosses the knife to the two men standing behind Ralthanar. “Would save us the trouble of holding him up like that – too bloody big for his own good I say. Even this blasted little shit-hole hut had to be made bigger to get that freaky giant in”
“Enough now” the figure in the center snips “it is time to begin.” The man begins to chant in a guttural language Ralthanar barely hears. He knows that something evil is being said and that his life has only minutes if not seconds left but all he can see is his brothers’ body, still moving and twitching with the last throws of life, eyes locked on Ralthanars – twitching back and forth. But even in this state Ralthanar realizes something – it’s not the spasms of death making his brothers eyes move – but a signal!
As the screams of grief and anger still rip through him, he follows his brothers gaze, above the cultists holding his arms – arching his back to see better though he is bound with rope. There! A shadow flickers through the streams of light coming through the gaps of the thatch roof. Perhaps this evil magic that has bound them all to a bubble of silence has been noticed somehow?
“Bring forth the last sacrifice – Khorramzadeh will be called here and now. We have waited many a year to hear his plan. The third crusade – if those weaklings can call it that – ended many a year ago now. Our master has hidden long and deep for this moment and I WILL be part of it” the central man points at Ralthanar, drawing another blade – this, a blade of all black with a feeling and look of complete darkness. Ralthanar knew this was a blade that would end him.
Again the chanting comes forth. Stepping past his brothers body – now still, the life having left his eyes Ralthanar feels again the burning in him, the deep and powerful anger – but he finds a calm in the rage that takes him – sees all that is in the room – the men holding him – the small rat faced man that took his bothers life and the man at the center of it all – black blade humming with power.
A surge of strength flows into his muscles. He flexes and hears the distinctive snap of the ropes holding him as they unravel from his body. Quick as a flash he spins and grabs the two men by the head in each of his massive hands and like the large traps he uses on the beasts in the wilds he snaps together – bringing both their heads together in a sickening crunch. Even as the men drop he spins again, knowing that his target is but a foot or two away.
The man at the center of this will die. That is all that resounds in his mind – like a giant hammer smashing the top of a mountain he hears this in his head. He rounds on him he sees him, goes to grab but for some reason his arms don’t react how they should. Why is he failing?
As he falls to his knees the man in the center grins at him – arm extended toward Ralthanar. “I would be impressed, feral child but as you can see – it matters not, that was exactly the emotions I needed out of you”
Ralthanar looks down and there sticking from his chest is the black blade – all but buried to the hilt – an evil eye staring back at him from it. Even as he watches it blinks. And the room bursts with a powerful presence.
“WHO DARES TO CALL TO THE STORM KING!” The voice – like a spear driven through his mind. He can FEEL the evil it carries, almost like it is being forced into his ears. Everyone in the room looks blown aback. Fear he has felt, but Ralthanar is still a boy of 14 and this voice would frighten even the most hardened of his tribe to tears. To Ralthanar it leaves him in a state of shock – even the blade sticking from his chest is like an itch compared to the voice – all else drowns out and he feels himself slowly blacking out – but again – the light from the roof flickers.
As he looks up the voice somehow gets even more dreadful.
“I WILL NOT ALLOW MY PLANS TO BE RUINED. BEGONE. NEVER CALL TO….”
Ralthanar sits upright, looking around. How is he alive?
A gentle had rests on his head and forces him back down onto the pallet under him. The wrinkled old hand of his grandfather resting on his brow.
“Do that again child and I will make sure those poultices not only stink but also make you crave the milk from you mothers breast like a babe, understood?”
As Ralthanar looks down he sees where the dagger was, a red mess of infection and disease – but somehow contained to the one area by a clean sweet mucus, glowing with healing energy. His grandfather’s secret recipe.
“Your father sensed what was going on somehow, but he couldn’t break in. When he made us aware and we finally did we found the both of you dead. It was too much for him, the fire inside has taken him for what was done to you both and he has left us in a blood fury that may never end. Do you understand child? The fires must be controlled or this happens. He will not stop till you and your brothers murderers are found if they even still live! The evil in that room was palpable boy. Yes he thinks you have died – and maybe you should have but I still have some of the old ways of our bloodline, for the Shaman-kings blood runs true in me, in your father and also in you. Do you remember what happened?”
“All of it” Ralthanar sobs – seeing again the eyes of his brother. “Why…”
“We are of powerful blood child – and something powerful was done here. How you are alive I’m still unsure – the room was awash with fel energies and you and your brother lying on the floor with no clues as to what had happened except the drawings on the floor and bodies of two men”
“Cultists – they did this to talk to some… thing. A storm king?”
With a gasp the old chieftain looks to Ralthanar.
“Well then, it seems we have some decisions to make. Very big decisions indeed” he looks at Ralthanar with a look that is both amazed and despairing at once.
“Remember this moment child – it is the turning point of your life.”