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Tomahawk by Bespin Bart
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Bespin Bart
Buggy

Gender: Male
Location: Everywhere

Hmm...what shall I write?

Here's the prologue to a story I've been writing, called Tomahawk. Originally REX's idea, but he abandoned it when he ran out of ideas. His was also a little bit too LOTR-ish.

REX has also drawn a nice map for his story. I would show it to you, but we don't have a scanner. *groans* I'll do some describing once I'm done posting what I have...


__________________

THIS IS WHAT WE'VE WAITED FOR
THIS IS IT, BOYS, THIS IS WAR!

Old Post May 30th, 2003 02:40 AM
Bespin Bart is currently offline Click here to Send Bespin Bart a Private Message Find more posts by Bespin Bart Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote Quick Quote
Bespin Bart
Buggy

Gender: Male
Location: Everywhere

Tomahawk

by Bespin Bart

It had been a great time of strife in the second century of the world. The land of Demenor, a vast continent with many countries and realms, was slowly being torn apart by the constant fighting between the kingdoms of Men. It all began with the princess of a major realm in Demenor in the beginning of the first century, the year 23 to be precise. Princess Marilyn of the realm of Haradol was to be wed to the prince of a neighboring realm known as Valtigar. But other kings and princes wanted to be the husband of the fair princess, and fighting between the countries broke out. By the time of Marilyn’s death in the year 54, the kingdom of Valtigar had be destroyed. And by the start of the first century of Demenor, the warring factions had completely forgotten why they were fighting at all. Despite the lack of a good reason for war, the fighting continued mostly because of greed. Other countries wanted the major realms’ wealth and land, and the major realms wanted more wealth and land, as well as crush the uncivilized countries that opposed them.

Another century went by before the two highest gods of Demenor decided to take action. These two lords were not from the world of Men, but of a different realm that men could not reach by boat or by foot. They had brought Demenor into being, and were sad that the land had become a large battlefield on which thousands of men were dying each day. The two High Gods were known to the Men as Karnum and Varnicus. The two were brothers, Varnicus being the more powerful of the two. At all times he was clothed in white, and surrounded by a heavenly light that filled all with pleasant thoughts. Evil men hated Varnicus, for his light was blinding to them. Karnum was second in command of the Council of Gods, but only because he was powerful. The other lords of the Council despised him, for at all gatherings of the Council he had different opinions than they, and he seemed more narrow-minded than the others, and was more malicious. Nonetheless, the coming of Varnicus and Karnum to Demenor was Karnum’s idea. Though the Council did not know it at the time, Karnum was forming plans for power that would take him above his brother.

When Varnicus and Karnum arrived on Demenor, they made a decision. Varnicus would go to the four major realms and Karnum would go to the lesser countries. The over-all plan was that they would create peace in the land and cause the major realms and lesser realms to join together as friends. Varnicus’ job would be easy; the four major realms were already making alliances with each other and some of the more civilized countries around them. Karnum’s was more difficult, but instead of creating peace, he wanted to spread a great hatred of the major realms throughout the small countries. A few of the countries who had signed peace treaties with the major realms went back on their word, and continued fighting.

Varnicus saw the evil in his brother, and decided that he must be stopped at any cost. To counter the raging armies of his malicious brother, then known as the Karnumites, Varnicus took all of the major realms and the lesser countries that had remained with them and formed them into one army, which he then called the Allied Kingdoms. The Allied Kingdoms then sent forth their armies to destroy the Karnumites. Several battles were fought, but it seemed that each ended as a draw. But once Karnum had begun aiding his army with his black magic and destructive powers, the Allied Kingdoms began to lose the war. Though the soldiers drove back the Karnumites in almost every battle, the blows that the swords struck on Karnum himself did nothing. Because of Karnum’s immortality, his limbs could be torn off and he could be decapitated, but his shadowy figure would regenerate. Because Karnum had left the way of the gods, Varnicus declared him cast from the Council of Gods, and stripped of his name.

“I name thee Karnage, Lord of all that is evil and dark!” Varnicus shouted to his evil brother after a vicious battle between Allied forces and the Karnumites. Then Varnicus and Karnage fought in a vicious battle of powerful magic and terrible flashes of light and lightning. Varnicus then figured out the evil lord’s weaknesses: magic. But all of magic that Varnicus could hurl at Karnage would not kill him, only wound him. It was the same for Karnage, who could not bring down his more powerful brother. The fight lasted for days, and was later called the Duel of the Gods by men of all realms.

After sitting in deep thought for months after that duel with Karnage, Varnicus came to one decision. He then convinced the Allied Kingdoms that it was the only way that they could defeat the Karnumites. He had formed a plan that would put an end to Karnage’s rampage against him and Allied Kingdoms. The only thing that could hurt Karnage was magic. In battle, Varnicus could not get the concentration he needed to put forth all of him magic to destroy his brother. Instead, he would put all of his power into a weapon that would be wielded by man. By doing this, though, he would be committing suicide, for putting all of his powers into the weapon would include putting his immortality into it, therefore making it indestructible and age would catch up with him at 212. Also, he did not want to win the war for the Men. They had to prove their worth.

The Council of Gods agreed to Varnicus plan, though with great sorrow. Varnicus placed his heir in command of the Council. This was his son, Varnium, who would eventually become as powerful as his father, and for now would be guided by Calornaph, god of wisdom. Then he had the god of war, Galathorm, forge the weapon into which he would pour his powers. The weapon he had chosen: a tomahawk. He had carried a tomahawk in combat while fighting alongside Men for those ten short years in Demenor. Before filling the tomahawk with his magic, he elected a King of a major realm to wield the mighty weapon. He chose King Armegon of Haradol, a descendant of Princess Marilyn. Galathorm forged a magic shield that protect King Armegon from Karnage’s magic, and also shatter swords blades and splinter arrows. And then Varnicus proceeded with his plan, and aged before everyone’s eyes into an old man as he gave up his powers to the now shining weapon. In honor of the dead god, King Armegon entitled the tomahawk Varnicus.

The final battle in the war was the worst battle of them all. It began like most battles of the Karnumites War, which was the section of the long war that Karnum and Varnicus had stepped in for. The wild and evil men of Karnage’s army stood upon the ridge of a valley that marked the borderline of Haradol, while the men of Haradol and the nearby lesser realm of Perthag stood below, gazing in fright at the horde of savages. At the head of the Karnumites stood the menacing Lord of Evil, Karnage.

“This is going to be a fine battle,“ he roared, his deep and powerful voice causing both armies to shudder. His eyes shown with a raging fire that could not be dounced, while his armored body was surrounded by shadow. He wore a helm of blacken steel over his haggard head and gazed out at the Haradol and Perthag armies through the tiny eye slits. Using his magic, he created a sword of flames for himself to wield. Archers were lined up on the ridge to Karnage’s right and left, and in front of each was a pot of flammable liquids. He lit them quickly by shooting sparks from his finger tips. The archers then drew arrows and lit the tips of them. They fitted the arrows to the strings and pulled back, and awaited the order to fire.

At the head of the Allied Kingdoms’ army was King Armegon of Haradol and King Balathar of Perthag. King Armegon held aloft the magic shield that Galathorm had given him, as well as his long-sword that he had used in battles before. Tucked into his belt was the tomahawk of Varnicus, the blade glittering with a bluish-white glow and its shaft glinting golden in the dying sunlight. He wore armor that Galathorm had helped design alongside the King’s trusted blacksmiths, his hard helm lined with metal mesh, and his legs and arms were covered in metal plaits and chain mail. King Balathar wore the light, flexible armor of his people, and wielded two bent swords. All the soldiers behind them wore the normal armor of their people, light or thick, but had all been given large, rectangular, wood-and-iron shields, each one painted red with a white tomahawk.

Then Karnage commenced the attack. He pointed his flaming blade towards his foes, signaling the start of the long and vicious battle ahead. The trumpeters of the Haradol army raised their horns and played four notes, the last one being an octave higher. Then both armies released their arrows. The air was filled with the sound of flying darts and men screaming in anguish. The arrows that were fired at King Armegon exploded against the magical shield of Galathorm, the tips shattering and the shafts splintering. King Balathar dodged many arrows before heading behind the wall of shields formed by his soldiers. Armegon shouted an order and all of the soldiers brought up the shields. The men in the first row held them straight up in front of them, the men in the second row held them angled above them, and the men behind all of those pointed the green-and-white shields up to the sky. It created a great, box-like formation, protecting many from the piercing arrows of the Karnumites. In the spaces between the shields, the Allied archers fitted their bows with arrows and let them fly, sending them into Karnage‘s warriors. The wooden shields were easily lit, though, by the burning arrows of Karnage’s front-most archers.


__________________

THIS IS WHAT WE'VE WAITED FOR
THIS IS IT, BOYS, THIS IS WAR!

Old Post May 30th, 2003 02:43 AM
Bespin Bart is currently offline Click here to Send Bespin Bart a Private Message Find more posts by Bespin Bart Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote Quick Quote
Bespin Bart
Buggy

Gender: Male
Location: Everywhere

Slowly the Allied soldiers advanced, with Armegon at their head. Karnage signaled the second wave of the attack, and the wild men of the North, South, and East poured forth, running over the dead and wounded of their army. Then the armies collided, and thus began the long, brutal, hacking and slashing of war. Both sides took heavy casualties, men falling to blades and arrows alike. This continued for three days, no man getting a break from the vicious fighting. But eventually the military might of the Allied Kingdoms drove the wild men back up the slopes of the valley. It was then that King Armegon saw his chance to go face to face with the Lord of Darkness himself. Armegon had a man tell Balathar that he was ready to make the strike.

“Archers of Haradol and Perthag! Keep all men away from the King Armegon!” King Balathar cried out, and charged up the hill before Armegon, to clear the way for the mighty king of Haradol. After an hour of fighting their way through the strong men of the South that had been appointed Karnage’s body guards, Armegon and Balathar stood before the fallen god. Balathar made a bold attempt to distract Karnage from his bigger threat, and slashed mercilessly at the shadowy form. Karnage’s arms went first, and then he was divided in half and decapitated. But then all that had been cut melted away into a vast smoking shadow on the ground, and reformed into the menacing body of the Dark Lord. With a swing of his flaming sword, he cut down the King of Perthag. He then broke the sword of Armegon, and tried to split his shield. But the fire sword exploded into a thick shower of sparks as it smote the blessed shield, scorching the men around them. In a mad fury, Karnage began unleashing his powers upon Armegon. Lightning and fire and energy were sent from Karnage’s twisted hands and deflected from the shield. The menace was injured with his own magic, and Armegon saw his opportunity for victory as Karnage recoiled.

“Karnage, thou shall not kill again!” Armegon cried as he pulled the tomahawk from his belt. He threw it, spinning through the air and past the Karnumites that now closed in around him. The blade of the tomahawk landed with a sizzle in Karnage’s head, cutting through his helm of twisted metal. The evil god gave a blood-curdling, unearthly shriek, and all nigh shuddered and dropped their weapons. As the body of Karnage writhed and shattered in a flash of light, the Karnumites called their retreat. Karnage’s armor and clothing dropped to the ground, and burned with a dark red flame.

After that battle, Armegon was declared the High King, and the Karnumites retreated back to there now weak countries and prepared to defend themselves. But, being a good and kindly king, Armegon did not pursue them back to the North and South and East. He instead gave them a chance to repent their evil ways, though many refused. He then let them be for as long as he lived. He dwelt in his castle, Doras Finion, a great castle with white-washed stone walls and tall spires capped with blue tiles and gold. Under his rule, all kingdoms experienced a great time of peace, as they did with his heirs. The peace lasted for thousands of years, until the Battle of Blue Valley passed into legend and then into myth. The tomahawk was placed on a shrine on the edge of that valley, which had become blue again after three millennia.

But somewhere along the line, a war-waging South-Eastern country known as Bladen sent assassins to dispose of the High King, then a great ancestor of Armegon, known as Artevon the Golden. The Bladen assassins succeeded, catching the unaware king in bed and stabbing him repeatedly. His wife and son fled the palace and hid in the country-side, until they were chased into the friendly country of Perthag, which had retaken the lost land of Valtigar. King Balathar VII sheltered the family, until the assassins broke into his fortified palace in Perthos. The wife of King Artevon was killed by the assassins, and his now grown son knocked out and dragged into the Great Wastes of Perthag, a dry desert that almost known could survive in, not even well-adapted animals. There, the boy was found by a caravan of traders from the East. The leader of the Bladen assassins had bashed him on the head with a magical weapon of unknown origin (at the time) that had destroyed the boy’s memory, and he had no knowledge of where he had come from. The caravan taught him in the ways of horse-riding and trading, and he became a trader, wandering the deserts of Perthag and neighboring countries and then finally returning home with the caravan to the large, dry country of Quanigar, south-east of Haradol.

The line of High King Armegon was lost.

Thousands of years after, the son of Artevon’s line had become a family of business, great with trade and persuasiveness, as had Artevon in political matters, as well as joined in the local customs of Quanigar, such as horse-racing, archery, and gladiatorial combat. The year was now 7532. The countries that had been conquered during the First War of Karnum were beginning to plan a war with the lazy, major realms that had formed the Allied Kingdoms all those thousands of years ago. Small squads of lightly armored and heavily armed warriors began attacking the border patrols of Perthag and the reformed country of Valtigar. Then they struck out on the borders of Haradol, lead by a black-robed figure with a blackened, blood-stained sword. After destroying a small village near the borders, they attacked the monastery built around the shrine of the tomahawk of Varnicus. The mythical weapon was stolen, and the monastery set ablaze by an unquenchable fire.

Next, the warriors, calling themselves the Karnumites, began attacking Quanigar. They began taking some of the country’s natural resources, such as fruit, livestock, and a special thing that the Quanigarian men had discovered. It was a flammable, explosive powder, which they used in war. By then it had been called flame-barrel, after the weapon they had formed that exploded when lit, but the warriors that attacked the country called it ‘gunpowder.’ After the first raids in Quanigar, the black-robed leader was not with them. But by now the kings and their councils had been told who it was that was robed in black: Karnage, the Lord of Evil and Darkness. He had somehow survived the final blow dealt to him by King Armegon at the Battle of Blue Valley. Some say it was his extreme thirst for revenge. Some say he had faked his death, using his powers to make it seem like the tomahawk had killed him, though it had only injured him heavily. Some say that he used magic. But the Council of Gods high above the world had seen this. To aid the world of men, the Council sent down a race of beings that they had entitled Elves, and they had been designed by Varnium son of Varnicus himself. With them they also sent a powerful ‘man‘, known as Ronokor the Red. He was a Wizard.

Ronokor quickly set up alliances between Elves and Men, and the wise and powerful kings of the major realms set aside lands for the Elves to dwell in. West Haradol, South Perthag, Valtigar, and Lara were theirs to live in, as long as they did no foul thing against the good men. The Elves, though they refused to live in the dry desert region, were also welcomed into Quanigar. They held off the Karnumite warriors and finally defeated a large portion of their raiding parties. But soon Ronokor the Red, renowned for his knowledge of fire, was drawn to Karnage’s power while on a journey to Bladen to investigate why a large horde of warriors, led by Karnage, had gone to the scorched lands far east of Bladen, known then only as the Dark Lands. He betrayed the Elves and Men, and the Elves retreated from Quanigar in fright and confusion. To avoid the invasion of their country, the trading caravans of the desert country opened trade with Bladen, which had been discovered to be the stronghold of Karnage. They traded large portions of gunpowder and food with Bladen in return for gold and jewels. Of the clans involved in this wretched trading route, the son of Artevon’s line was involved. The clan that the line was in was known as the King’s Caravan, for the wealthy ruler of Quanigar had given a great many trade routes to the Caravan after they had saved him from a wild tiger. Their clan name, which they used more often, was Tredan, which meant ‘trade.’

Almost a century passed before Karnage began to set his plans in action, in the troubled year 7601. The line of Armegon lies within a boy named Colin, a fine craftsman, trader, and warrior in the clan of Tredan....


__________________

THIS IS WHAT WE'VE WAITED FOR
THIS IS IT, BOYS, THIS IS WAR!

Old Post May 30th, 2003 02:43 AM
Bespin Bart is currently offline Click here to Send Bespin Bart a Private Message Find more posts by Bespin Bart Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote Quick Quote
Bespin Bart
Buggy

Gender: Male
Location: Everywhere

Chapter 1

Many people were crowded into the small, dusty coliseum. Most were wearing turbans and tattered robes, ripped and torn by the vicious winds that ripped across the deserts of Quanigar. Indeed, at the very moment a sandstorm was occurring outside the walls of the coliseum, pummeling the stones and clay it had been built with. But the architects of the Desertum region were the best of their time, and were only rivaled by those in the wealthy lands of Haradol and other such countries. The coliseum would not topple to even the strongest gales, and would even protect the people inside from being sandblasted. But that was not the main concern of the audience at the moment anyway.

They were mainly focused on the actions on the sandy battlegrounds below them, for the coliseum was a gladiatorial coliseum. Many of these were found in Quanigar, the best being in the Desertum region, as was this one. Though not very large compared to the buildings of the Royal Lands, they were stronger than most buildings, and still very grand despite their primitive use. Once in the past a great coliseum known as Redder Sword had been used as a fortress and was actually put under siege by the Karnumites. But that was far back, when the world was young and Quanigar was part of the Allied Kingdoms. The Redder Sword was also the location of the ruler of Quanigar’s last marriage to his third wife.

The sword-battle below was heating up. The competitors were all champions and had been in the gladiator business a long time. Most of the spectators had their money set on two of the best combatants; Werran of the Arid Lake and Colin of the King’s Caravan. The two had become great friends while the King’s Caravan was visiting the Arid Lake and worked side by side when beset by many foes in gladiatorial combat, as they were now. In return for food and tools, Werran’s family sheltered the caravan in their immense home, for many of the caravan felt that they needed a break for the time being, though another shipment of gunpowder to Bladen would be due soon.

Werran was a burly middle-aged, average Quanigar man, distinctly noticed as a Quanigar by his tan skin and dark hair, who was renowned for his massive swings of many kinds of weapons and thick armor on the gladiator battlegrounds. Clad in full battle armor, including chain mail, thick iron plates, and a spiked helm, Werran would stride through his opponents rather than stop and slash at them. He would bowl them over, bash them away from him with his large iron shield, knock away their swords with decisive swings of his long-sword, cutting them down with another, and demolish them with his large war hammer. He preferred to use brute strength when it came to battle.

Colin, a young, blonde-haired, blue-eyed man, which was unusual in this part of the world, was the quicker of the two. Wielding two curved broadswords, he twirled through a cluster of enemy gladiators, cutting down most of them. He bore no armor and no shield, for he did not need either of them. He was quick and agile, dodging swings of swords and axes and flying darts. He was strong as well, as he had proven when he was unarmed in a recent gladiator fight, knocking out many with his bare hands. But, unlike his friend Werran, he was more strategic. Whenever he saw a chance to make things easier, he’d take it. If his opponents had set up a rock-hard defense that Werran’s brute force could not solve, usually Colin would find a way around it.

Soon the blood-shed on the sandy arena ended with the killing of the last gladiator of the opposite team. Werran and Colin took their places on the winners podium while the clean-up crews made the field ready for the next fight. After getting their rewards and medals, Werran and Colin walked out of the coliseum, dogged by many adoring fans. After escaping from the fans and autograph-signing, the two men arrived at Werran’s house. They both bathed, cleansing themselves of dried blood and dust, and then flopped down on their beds, resting before coming down to help pack the trading equipment onto the carts.

“We have more trading with Bladen,” Colin muttered glumly.

“I always thought that was a good thing,” Werran replied. “But you and your family make it seem like it is the worst thing ever. You go to the City of Traders with the gunpowder and come home with four chests of bullion. What can be bad about that?”

“You’ve never been, so you wouldn’t know,” Colin said. “The men of Bladen are not like us or any other country. They are remarkably pale for were they live, and have wicked looks in their eyes. They seem to dislike my family the most. Maybe it is because my father, my brother, and I have blonde hair and blue eyes, like the fair men of the north-west. Last time one of them pulled my brother’s hair, and I could do nothing because if I did, the five heavily armored soldiers would probably massacre my family with their trident swords.”

“Maybe I’ll come along, just to see what these men of Bladen are like,” offered Werran as they began walking outside to the caravan.

“If you insist...”

The King’s Caravan consisted mostly of Colin’s family and horse-driven carts. The wheels of the wooden carts were designed to cope well with the sand that tried to suck the wheels under. The carts could only be loaded to a certain weight or they would sink into the ground and be stuck there for a long time. And usually stuck carts fell pray to marauding pirates. Colin’s father, Argeth, and his mother, Bethany, made sure this did not happen. Colin’s younger brother, Christopher, was to feed the horses and make sure everything was loaded. Colin would ride in front with his mother and father, while Christopher and other children would sit, if any children came at all, in the passenger cart right behind. The men of Bladen scared the children greatly, so usually Christopher did not come with them when doing business with the evil men of Bladen.

Colin’s parents greeted Werran warmly. He was given a seat next to Colin in the head cart, where they could easily get to the small food stores in the cart or get to the children’s cart. There was no need to get to the children’s cart, though, because they were not coming today. Christopher would be staying behind at Werran’s family’s house with Colin’s grandfather and Werran’s family. After all of the gunpowder was packed in the carts, they were off.

The trek across the desert was uneventful and drab. The desert spanned as far as the eye could see, the wind blowing the sand into whirling gusts that swept against the caravan. The members of the caravan had placed masks over their faces to provide protection to their eyes, noses, and mouths. Colin and Werran had moved into the empty passenger cart, where they were protected from the winds, so they had removed their masks. They sat at a small, wooden table on the floor of the cart, eating fruits and drinking a flavorful wine.

“So tell me more about the men of Bladen,” Werran currently said. “What do they look like?”

“Well, I already told you that they are extremely pale and have evil looks in their bloodshot eyes,” Colin replied. “Most of them are very lithe and skinny, looking almost like skeletons. Rumor has it that their leader made them from the dead of a war long ago, though I don’t really believe in that. Their elite warriors, which are the ones we meet most of the time at Caravel Port, are quick the opposite in build. Their arms writhe with muscles, and they are quite strong. One pushed me into the Sea once, and he pushed hard. I flew a couple feet before landing in the water. While they are very strong, they too are pale like the smaller ones. I very rarely see their faces, for they are always clothed in thick armor, and their helms hide their faces.

“What kind of weapons do they use? I’ve heard that for where they live, they have quite an arsenal.”

“And you’ve heard right. The big ones use large trident-like swords. They wield them two-handed and can take your head off in one swipe. The smaller ones have a variety of weapons, ranging from short swords to crossbows. They are very accurate with those.”


__________________

THIS IS WHAT WE'VE WAITED FOR
THIS IS IT, BOYS, THIS IS WAR!

Old Post Jun 17th, 2003 05:00 AM
Bespin Bart is currently offline Click here to Send Bespin Bart a Private Message Find more posts by Bespin Bart Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote Quick Quote
Bespin Bart
Buggy

Gender: Male
Location: Everywhere

“How’s their armor?”

“Thick. Very, very thick. It is the thickest and most elaborate on the big ones, who normally wear full suits, but wear lighter armor when in the hot climate of Quanigar. The smaller ones wear armor that looks like it has been made from scrap. Archers wear barely any armor at all, save perhaps, a light helm or chain male.”

“I see...” Werran said. He looked back towards the cart behind them, which had at least 50 kegs of gunpowder. “So, what the hell do they use the gunpowder for?”

“I’m not sure exactly...but I’m sure it is not something good. Those men have evil intents, to be sure. I’ve heard that they use the kegs as explosives and smaller hand bombs. Quite devastating. The smaller men carry those occasionally, though I’ve never seen them used.”

After awhile the conversation ended and they fell asleep. During the sleep the caravan pasted the edges of the Pelosene Desert, a major site of gunpowder mining. They stopped at a camp set up by a few gunpowder miners during the night and shared their meager stocks of food with the miners, making what seemed a feast to them. Colin and Werran played with the children of the miners, entertaining them with folktales that are often told around the campfire and telling them some of the history of Demenor. They slept through the night unharmed. The miners considered it odd because there were usually sand worm attacks. The sand worms in the area around the mines had become addicted to certain minerals in the gunpowder and were marauding about, feasting on the kegs and piles of the explosive ore.

Soon the caravan arrived in Caravel Port. Caravel Port was a major city by Quanigar standards, with an approximate population of 10,000 people. Most of the population consisted of merchants and traders. Most traders came to Caravel Port in boats, typically in swift caravels, which is where the city found it’s name. The traders and merchants came from countries like Orthos, Nolo, and Alm, all on the borders of Quanigar or the Orthigarian Sea, the Sea that Colin and Werran could now see from the hill that the caravan was going over.

“There must be thousands of boats in port today,” Colin observed as he gaped out at the large port. Indeed, he was very accurate when he said thousands, for thousands of boats dotted the port, as well as covered the horizon. Most of the boats looked the same in build and in color, though some varied in the color of sails, but three black ships glistened ominously in the harbor.

“That would be the boats of the Bladen, I take it?” Werran asked.

“You’re correct, those are them. They are very odd boats. They are made of metal, and use an odd system to propel themselves through the water. I asked one of the men on the boat what the system was called, and he said that the boat used a steam-powered engine and three razor-sharp propellers. He also told me that they were the same boats that the men of Bladen used in war,” Colin explained. “They look quite lethal, especially with the ramming spike on the front of the boat.”

After pushing their way through the crowded streets of the city, they reached dock 13 about the same time as the boats. The original dock 13 had been made of flimsy wood and was sun-bleached, but the men of Bladen had torn it down and made a new dock 13, making it of metal and painting it black like their ships. They also had dock 12 and dock 14 torn down to make sure no one could eavesdrop on their conversations that they had with the caravan.

The big black juggernauts looked even bigger from the metal dock. At least fifty soldiers lined the deck of the 400 foot long boat, all armed with crossbows and longbows. Windows lined the first two floors of the boat, which had six floors as Colin had been told by one of the soldiers, and in those windows were long, gray, metal tubes. A soldier had called them ‘cannons,’ but when Colin asked him what that meant and what they did, he would not say anything and pushed Colin off the dock and into the water, telling him he was being ‘too inquisitive.’

A large, burly man in light plated armor strode on the deck barking orders.

“Lower the steps!” he shouted, and the steps were lowered down mechanically to the dock. “Now open the cargo bay!” A door on the side of the ship opened, and out jumped five, large men, all of them pale. They ran up to the caravan and began grabbing the kegs of gunpowder from the caravan carts.

“Well met, old man!” the burly man hollered as he stomped down the metal stairway that the men on the boat had just lowered. “It looks like you might just meet your quota this month. We still have to count the kegs though.”

“No thanks to you, Ushgar. We had to pay the miners extra and work them overtime,” Colin’s father told the man.

“I don’t like your tone,” Ushgar said, getting in Colin’s father’s face. Ushgar’s hand went for his large sword’s hilt, but Colin’s mother stayed his hand.

“No fighting! We want to leave alive this time. No losses!” she said, addressing both men.

“Last time we were here, Ushgar killed two members of our clan who mouthed off to him. He slit their throats and pushed them in the bay...” Colin whispered to Werran, and turned back to the conversation. The conversation turned to the better after a few heated words, and Ushgar had the men bring down a large chest, also made of black metal. They opened it to reveal a half full chest of gold and jewels.

“It is only half full!” Colin’s father stated, pointing at the chest. “The contract said they’d be full every time!”

“That is only if you have all of the barrels. You were three kegs short of the quota!” Ushgar said over him. “Now go before my cannons blast your caravan all the way to the Strait of Kings!”

“You still haven’t told us anything about those cannons or what you use the gunpowder for...” Colin’s father complained.

Ushgar was now at the last straw, for he had a thin temper and was quick to anger, especially since he liked to kill things, a typical trait in men from Bladen.

“Then I will show you what they do, old man...” Ushgar said grimly through his teeth, and ran up onto the boat. The cargo bay door closed and the stair raised. The three black ships began to propel themselves away from port.

“He still didn’t show us what they do...” Colin’s father said as he turned his back to the ships, which were now a couple hundred feet away from the dock. The whole family turned to leave and order the caravan out to make the return journey to Werran’s village. But behind them, the lead ship turned sideways. The cannons aimed for the dock and opened fire with a loud, resounding boom! Colin and Werran turn just in time to see two warheads fly towards the dock, and in a large, fiery explosion, they lost consciousness and dropped into the water.


__________________

THIS IS WHAT WE'VE WAITED FOR
THIS IS IT, BOYS, THIS IS WAR!

Old Post Jun 17th, 2003 05:00 AM
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