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|The first story of many dealing with mother nature and her destructive self (see Fantasy--Beginning for more information) It wasn't very well edited and is more of a rough draft then a final copy but I enjoyed writing it and thought some input would be nice.||
"Why is it always me that’s gettin’ stuck with the boring work," A young Minotaur grumbled as he started down a long descending cavern. The tunnel was hot, searing the Minotaur’s lungs as he continued to venture forward. The young ones red tinted black fur felt as if it were on fire, along with every other part of his body. The tunnel he slowly descended down led to one of the High-Elders’ castles. Bog was careful as he chose his steps. He wondered why the crazy coon would want to do anything but escape from such a hellish place.
As he finally neared the entrance, the heat and steam made it hard for him to have his eyes open, but when he finally did manage to open them, the image that he saw took his breath away. A vast cavern of molten lava brewing beneath his very hooves was presented to him in all of its glory. The large Minotaur city was built on the side of a highly active volcano. One of the oldest and wisest of his clan had moved deep inside the heart of the fiery mountain. Bog had heard stories and rumors that High-Elder Goblack had harnessed new magical powers and had escaped down into the volcano in a search of privacy.
If it was Bogs decision, which obviously it wasn't, he would let the poor elder have peace and serenity till the end of his days.
Walking into the wide cavern, Bog watched in horrible fascination as hot fiery lava came roaring up the side of the volcano’s cylinder walls. Bog shivered, despite of the heat, at the thought of such a terrible death.
Squinting so the heat did not burn his eyes, and putting a hand on top of his long handled battle-axe, Bog quickly continued on with his mission.
He was supposed to find the High-Elder and escort him back to the King. He cursed the king every time one of his hooves struck a loose rock that threatened to plunge him into the terrible lava.
The High-Elder had built a large castle deep into the volcano’s inner wall. To get to his destination though, one had to walk down a slender stone bridge-like path with hot lava boiling on both sides. Usually such techniques like this were used to give army’s a harder time when attacking, making them attack in single-file which anyone with half a fish brain knew was a death trap.
Bog wondered why this crazy old Minotaur would do something like this but, frankly, he didn't care. He just wanted to get this mission over with as fast as possible and return to the young cow he had met earlier while drowning down a drink.
Bog, carefully placing each hoofed step as he walked down the narrow path, was half way across when a surge of lava boiled up and over the path behind him. Searing heat nearly set Bogs’ fur aflame as he began to run, heedlessly of safety, down the treacherous pass. The small bridge-like pass started to crumble as the lava, seemingly, rose and boiled to follow Bogs flight.
Blind and nearly unable to breath Bog ran as fast as his muscled legs could run. He could feel the heat rising on his back and neck. Everything around him seem to smoke, even himself, as he ran. With hot lava nearly upon him, a drastic earthquake hit the volcano. The mighty tremor opened a wide chasm in which the boiled over lava seeped into.
Nearly giddy, Bog grabbed the sides of the path that had not been touched with lava and held on as tightly as he could. The earthquake rattled the very foundations of the volcano and with every breath Bog took, he cursed every elder that had ever lived.
The earthquake, which Bog thought had just saved his life, now took on new meaning. Large boulders from above came crashing down into the lava sending sporadic sheets of flame into the air. A large boulder smashed into the narrow path behind Bog effectively cutting off any escape he might have thought he could achieve.
With tears running down his furry snout from the smoke and inhalation, Bog regained his feet and slowly started to inch near the safety of the elder’s castle. But Bog knew he was in trouble again. The tremors were slowing down but the earth under Bogs feet still moved and trembled violently. Looking back through the smoke, and through his own tears, Bogs’ eyes widen in shock and fear. The remaining path in which he had already walked was begging to fall away into the lava below.
Adrenaline flowed through Bog as he dashed toward the castle, slipping and sliding, but always moving forward. On several occasions Bog nearly lost his large battle-axe but somehow managed to keep it on his person.
Now upon his hooves was not lava, but the fear of gravity drawing him into the abyss of the flame. Behind him the bridge pass was collapsing, drawing closer and closer to his position. Bog was so close he could nearly touch the castle walls when the earth under his hooves gave way.
Bog, desperate for anything to hold onto, suddenly felt a meaty hand grasp his and pull him to safety inside the castle. Where once the small bridge pass had been, nothing but open sulfur air remained.
Trying to speak, though his lungs were filled with smoke, and trying to see, though his eyes were full of ash, Bog steadily rose with the help of his rescuer. When Bog finally shook the remaining tears from his eyes and looked upon his savior he was both shocked and appalled.
A large, dark grey Minotaur with chipped horns stood in front of him. This was not the High-Elder, but his chief bodyguard. Several large gashes covered both of his arms and legs. As Bog looked over his injured comrade he noticed a deep cut from the poor guards forehead down his cheek and bit deeply into his chest.
Taking an involuntary step backwards Bog stared at the sinew and fat that hung loosely from the Minotaurs chest. Blood coated the Minotaurs forearms and chest, along with a bit of flesh that still hung from the defiant Minotaurs’ chipped horn. As Bogs shock wore off and his tongue started to work again, the giant Minotaur began to waver and fell into his arms, covering the young Minotaur in blood.
Bog, mind racing from the moments of his recent past, softly set the warrior down upon the ground. In a soft but deep voice the Minotaur spoke, "Take this, young one." He said while pushing his steel tipped Morning Star into Bogs hand. "I have failed in my task, please repent for my failures." With his final words, the grey-furred Minotaur slumped to the ground; his strong hand that had just held Bogs’ lay limp on the floor.
Bog bowed his head in a silent prayer for the fallen warrior. With one hand he closed the Minotaurs eternal gaze and with the other he gripped the morning star that had been given to him.
The warrior was the High-Elders’ personal bodyguard and if he had failed in his task then that meant....
With a roar of rage and grief Bog pounded down the front door, splintering it into a thousand wooden shards. Inside of the great hall was a bloody heap of a Minotaur. Bog recognized it as the High Elder immediately and scanned the room for the people responsible for such a tragedy. Scattered across the chamber and beyond lay dead humans and goblins. There were other Minotaur bodies as well but Bog knew these to be the High-Elders’ other bodyguards and servants.
Without warning Bog caught the flash of silver out of the corner of his eye as a sword was thrust into his direction. Parrying the blow with the chain part of his morning star, Bog quickly took his battle-axe from his waist and, with both weapons drawn, charged the small human that dared attack him. Cutting the pathetic humans sword arm off at the shoulder with his axe Bog quickly snapped the morning star in a quick circle and buried the steel tipped ball deep inside the humans’ chest. Small bone fragments and intestinal fluid poured out of the deep strike. The morning star, already bloody from previous engagements was now drenched in the crimson liquid.
Pulling his weapon free and letting the dead body slump to the ground, Bog tried to snort out the smell of blood that hung heavily in the large hallway. A voice suddenly attracted his attention.
"The new one got Andromine!! We must make him pay,” one of the half-dozen humans said as they started to encircle the out-numbered Minotaur. Bog also saw two fat goblins lurking in the background but paid more attention to the more prominent dangers at hand.
Swinging his battle-axe in large circles in front of him kept his enemies, which were all equipped with what Bog thought were normal looking swords, at bay.
The lead human, who had spoke before, spoke again, "Is this all that is left of us, Lark?"
"Yes, sir. The guards were tougher to take care of then we originally planned," Lark said as he feinted with his sword every once and awhile, trying to make Bog make a mistake. Feeling nothing but rage flow through his veins Bog swung his axe again to keep all enemies away before charging at the closest one.
While talking to his Captain, Lark had gotten to close to his quarry without paying attention; the result was devastating. Bog, swinging his new weapon around caught the human on the side of his skull. The metal tipped ball crushed both skull and brain, splattering blood and bone fragments everywhere. So caught off by the Minotaurs sudden rush that both goblin and human warriors took involuntary steps back and braced for further attacks.
The only person that was not surprised was the Captain of the humans. Bringing his sword up he rushed the Minotaurs vulnerable right side. Bog saw the attack coming but couldn’t regain his balance fast enough from the momentum of the morning star to fully parry the thrust. Bog roared in pain as he felt the sharp point of the blade bite into his flesh and was turned aside by one of his ribs. Roaring perpetually during battle, Bog smashed his axe down upon the humans’ sword with enough maddening fury to dislodge the weapon from his grasp.
Except for the Captain of the humans every other creature backed away from the Minotaurs fury. In a nearly comic routine the two goblins charged the enraged Minotaur. The closest fell with his body nearly shredded into two while the other hit the ground with his rib cage crushed.
The Captain rubbed his sore wrist as he nodded to his remaining men. Again, he was surrounded and was swinging his axe and morning star in wide arches to keep his enemies at bay. The Captain stood directly in front of Bog while the others were either behind or in the corner of his sight. Bog nearly laughed at such a stupid human tactic, he hadn’t been born yesterday. He knew that the Captain was trying to draw his attention while his friends stabbed him in the back.
Knowing this and using it to his advantage, Bog smirked and feinted in an attack to the weaponless Captain. As he had predicted, the other humans attacked what they thought was a vulnerable opponent. Turning suddenly to the new attackers, Bog sliced into the first surprised human that got into range, cutting his head clean off his shoulders with his axe. Wading into his attackers he brushed aside their pitiful weapons with his morning star and dealt death as quickly as he could. Four humans fell to his hoofed feet with either crushed body parts or deep gashes in their chests.
Turning with a defiant glare Bog was surprised to see that the Captain had regained his sword and was dangerously close. Bog successfully parried one thrust that was aimed high at his throat but missed another as it was driven deep into his shoulder making him drop the morning star that had been given to him. The strike, though not fatal, had caused other problems. Reeling backwards, Bog slipped and tripped over blood, guts and gore that littered the floor. He was amazed that the human could still stand. Bog immediately rolled when he hit the ground, soaking even more blood into his fur, but when he turned to get up the Captain kicked a puddle of blood towards Bog.
Blood and little pieces of bone splattered into Bogs face setting his eyes aflame with pain. Bog was even more infuriated at the low handed and honor less attack by the Captain. But then again he was only human. Snarling in frustration, he tried to stand on the slippery surface. Before he could regain his feet though, he felt a sharp piercing pain rush through his leg. With heightening anger Bog let lose another loud roar and grasped at the wound with his free hand. The roar reverberated through out the stone which nearly sent them falling down upon his head. The human, using the time that the Minotaur was blind and nearly helpless, had driven his sword deep into his opponents’ thigh jolting the sword out of his grasp as it struck the stone beneath the Minotaurs leg.
Infuriated and enraged at being struck, Bog hefted his remaining weapon and heaved it at the last surviving member of the raiding party. The Captain saw the attack coming, the axe sailing through the air end-over-end, but couldn’t react in time to save his life. The axe buried itself deep inside of the man’s chest cleaving through his spine and ending his time on this world.
Feeling his strength waning, Bog quickly grabbed the sword that was protruding out of his leg and, gritting his teeth so hard that one cracked, pulled the sword free of its confines. Suddenly Bog could feel every little scratch that had been afflicted upon his body. Apparently, when he had waded into the mass of humans some of their strikes had hit their mark. He had been too filled with rage and bloodlust to notice the cuts and gashes that now adorned his body. Now, with the battle over every little scratch felt as if it was cleaving through his soul. Laying his horned head down upon the hard wet stone floor, Bog reflected and found that he wasn’t afraid to die. True, his life had been short but he had fought bravely.
As his consciousness started to drain away from loss of blood, Bog stared at the high ceiling dome in which he would die. He had never noticed the paintings adorned on the ceiling and wall. Bog smiled, a rare thing for any Minotaur, before sweet darkness swept over him.
Years later Bog tells this story to the children of his city. Luckily for Bog there had been another way to get to the high elders castle and fortunately another messenger had been sent. Within moments of Bog blacking out, help was there to pick him up and carry him to medical treatment. He was a local hero now, even at such a young age. He would never forget his very first battle in the depths of the fiery volcano and always carried his axe and morning star at his side.
|Fantasy-The Beginning||Cold Heart|