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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Creatures 1: As life began

Chapter 5 is a nice long chapter. What can I say, writing from the perspective of the bad guys is so much more fun :D


CHAPTER #5 (Thorkil)
I woke with a start. It was the same dream that had been affecting me for the last four sleeps. They were about the female who had been born just after me, Ivy.
In these dreams we were together on what seemed like the highest peak in all of Albia. I could see for what appeared to be forever.
One day we shall rule it all” Ivy whispered into my ear.
Yes” I said, “One day we shall rule it together”.
I reached out and touched her on the cheek, letting the thrill of feeling another living creature pass through me. “You and me” I added quietly.
She reached out to touch me back and we fell into each other’s arms and…
NO! What was I thinking? I didn’t feel those pathetic feelings. Only Norns did. No, she probably just played a part in my destiny. I often had dreams about my future. This was probably one of those dreams. The reason for her appearing in my dreams and being so tender with me would reveal itself within time.
I focused my mind on the real world. The Queen had given birth to many other Grendels now. We were multiplying at incredible speeds. It was tiring the Queen out incredibly, but she knew what was the right thing to do. The more of us there were to fight the better.
I brought my mind back to the current morning. It was a good thing my dreams had woken me early. Now I would be ready for the fight this morning. It’s hard to believe some fools think they were better at my job! I had already killed two others. The Queen wasn’t particularly thrilled with Grendels killing other Grendels. After all we needed all the able bodies we could get our claws on. But all the same she knew we needed to fight to ready ourselves for the coming battles.
The previous two I had killed had been easier than taking cheese from Norns. But this one bothered me. He was larger than I was and his poison was stronger than mine was. That’s why he was named Spore. Still, his poison was made for Norns. Mine was made for all species. Plus I had my secret weapon.
I stopped in the middle of town and looked around. It was amazing how much we had managed to build in the very little time we had had. I had lost count of the days I had been out of my egg, but I knew that what we had achieved would be remember for a long time to come.
The battlefield was in front of me. It wasn’t much of a battlefield, just a bit of flat ground surrounded by a few trees and shrubs. To my left was Speech Rock where we held our meetings. The rock we had found had to be carted quite a distance and due to its size it took three Grendels to move it.
The Queens chamber was to the right and up the lift. The Queens chamber was where most of our building efforts had gone into. We had built her a Chamber up in the treetops where it was thought she would be safest. The slabs of wood we needed had to be found or trees needed to be cut down. Then we had to fasten them all together by cutting holes into the wood and fitting it all together. Considering we had little guidance to our building it was quite impressive.
I walked over to the battlefield. The fight was to start later in the morning. I had plenty of time to do what I wished. I decided I would pay a visit to the Queen. There was no doubting I was one of her favorites. Although she had never spoken it out loud, every Grendel knew that my destiny was the greatest of anyone in our small village. As far as I knew no one else received visions from the Queen. Of course I had never asked her as to whether she let anyone know about our past, but something inside me always told me that I was the only one. Perhaps it had something to do with the others intellect. Although the Grendels had some intelligence, there was no denying that most of them were as bright as the bottom of a muddy puddle. However, all of the Grendels were extremely strong, so perhaps the Queen thought is was worth sacrificing some brains for strength.
Ivy and Claw were the only others who I could manage to get a decent conversation out of.
Claw and Hoof were my younger brothers, although Hoof was about as brainy as most of the other Grendels. More idiotic in some ways than most, as it was his belief that we had no idea as to who the Norns were, only what the Queen had told us. Claw and myself saw these ideals as treason, and therefore forced him to keep his mouth shut in public areas. As thick as he was, I didn’t want to see him destroyed because of it.
I often wondered how the Queen decided who was brother or sister to whom. All I knew was that Hoof and Claw were my brothers, while Ivy was not my sister. It was as the Queen had told us, and that was what we believed. Somehow, unbeknown to us, we were of the same blood.
I puzzled over these things as I approached the Queens chambers. My thoughts were broken when I reached the ladder leading up to the treetops.
Wakeup you imbeciles!” I yelled at the two sleeping Grendels. The two Grendels jumped to attention, quivering in their scales. I couldn’t truly blame them. Although it had never been spoken it was well known I could bestow death upon whomever I willed. So far I had only made examples of people, and that was enough to keep them in line. “What are you fools doing asleep!” I raged, “What would you have done if something had happened to the Queen?”
The two Grendels stood there in dumb silence.
Well?” I demanded, enjoying their terror. I knew that I was just blowing off some stress; I wasn’t really going to do anything to them. They however did now know this.
Well you see it’s like this” began one of the Grendels. Thrhout was his name. “It was the middle of the night and we were getting very sleepy”. The Grendel beside him nodded his head vigorously in agreement. I rolled my eyes. I already knew the way most Grendels reasoned; to say it was pathetically would have been a major understatement.
And we were on the verge of going to sleep” he continued, completely unaware of the idiot beside him, “And we was trying to stay awake really hard and then we came to a really funny thought” he said with a massive grin.
Oh boy, here it comes I thought.
We realized, that if we were so sleepy, then our enemies would be really sleepy too. So if we were gunna fall asleep, then our enemies were probably already asleep. So we thought that if our enemies were asleep, then they wouldn’t be able to hurt the Queen, and then we could get some rest” he finished with a dopey smile.
I smiled to myself. For Grendel reasoning he had done a mighty fine job. I walked slowly over to a nearby bush and pulled out a groggy animal. The poor thing was just settling down to sleep after being up all night. I knew that this species was nocturnal and I hoped that the two guards knew as well.
You see this”, I said holding up the struggling creature.
They both nodded profusely. “Good. Now did you know that this creature sleeps in the daytime, and stays awake for most of the night?”
One of the Grendels nodded in agreement while the other shook his head. I rolled my eyes again.
Okay Thrhout, well it does. Now does it seem possible, that maybe, just maybe, if this creature sleeps in the day and stays awake during the night, that there might be other creatures out there who do the same, and therefore would pose a threat to the Queen?”
Never thought of that” mumbled Thrhout.
Of course you didn’t” I muttered.
So I guess that means that we should stay awake during the night from now on” said the other Grendel sadly.
I’m afraid so” I said, mocking his babyish tone. I moved forward to get to the ladder the two Grendels were guarding. They both moved closer together to stop me.
What business do you have with the Queen?” Thrhout asked me.
I gave him an incredulous stare. I had issued an order that the Grendels who were on duty were to ask anyone who wanted to enter the Queen’s chambers what their business was. I had wanted to make sure no one bothered the Queen without good reason to. Although I had never thought anyone would question my motives.
Thrhout” I said.
Yes Thorkil?”
Get out of my way before I have you thrown in the sea halfway between here and the distant island.
Yes Thorkil” he muttered backing out of my way.
I pushed past the two Grendels, deliberately brushing them as I went just so I could feel them shiver as they stepped back.
I climbed up the ladder into the treetops in quite a temper. The Queen felt my presents and welcomed me in.
she sent as I walked into her room. Although the chamber was the most magnificent structure we had created so far, it was still not truly befitting for a Queen. It was more of a wooden platform held up by vines and wooden posts.
I tried to calm myself for the Queen’s sake; there was no need to get her involved in a petty little dispute such as guard duty.
she claimed in her calming voice.
I smiled despite myself. The Queen always had a way of making me feel better.
asked the Queen sympathetically.
No” I answered truthfully; there was no point in keeping secrets from the Queen.
murmured the Queen, .
I know,” I said quietly with a faint smile. But I wasn’t so sure. What about my dreams of Ivy?
asked the Queen with a touch of humor, .
I felt one of her mind tendrils reach out to me and before I could think I was thrown into another vision of the past.

I was once again in the body of the ruthless Grendel who I was beginning to think of as one of my forefathers. Which there was a very good chance he was. I was leering over my latest victim. He was a very large Grendel. He was probably slightly bigger than I was, although by the pitiful stance he was in he had come of second best in a fight despite his size. Claw marks riddled his body; his right eye was no longer where it should have been.
He cowered below me as I stood above him, a giant and unconquerable beast.
Don’t…spare me,” he croaked out through the face that was coated with oozing blood.
Oh don’t worry,” I said quietly and confidently, “I won’t spare you”.
I saw his one good eye open wide with fear.
After what you tried to do!” I said, this time allowing my rage to build, “What right do you have to life?”
I let him babble for a few seconds, desperately trying to find an answer that he knew wasn’t there. I then took a menacing step towards him, deliberately making it dramatic so he could see what was coming. I gave a mix between a grunt and a sigh out of my nose as if I were a wild animal.
And so you end” I snarled quietly before swinging my arm back and…

The vision blurred and I returned to the normal world.
asked the Queen.
He may have been almighty,” I said quietly, “But in the end even he was defeated wasn’t he”.
said the Queen soothingly.
Except you,” I said with a laugh. The Queen gave a laugh that sounded like heavy rain on an outcrop of rocks, quite pleasant once you got used to it.
murmured the Queen, .
I bowed my head in a sign of respect. “I shall follow you to the end” I said sincerely.
said the Queen softly, .
I climbed down the ladder feeling pretty good about myself. I was born to rule Albia; there was none who could get in my way. My infatuation with Ivy was nothing more than mere Nornplay. I would no longer think of her other than as another able body.
I began to make my way to the battleground. As I passed by Speech Rock several Grendels called out words of encouragement to me. The majority of the Grendels were still on my side. I felt my chest swell with pride at the thought of my species. We truly had come a long way in a very short period. It was almost sad that after today there would be one less of us to enjoy the aftermath.
Small groups of Grendels were beginning to join themselves around the battlefield, all of the trying to anticipate where they would get the best view of the action. I was watching them, allowing the pride of my people swell inside me when out of the shadows Spore appeared.
We glared at each other for a few seconds. Spore had been born not long after myself but despite our age difference he was still a claw length taller than me. For some strange reason his eyes didn’t appear to have any pupils. Unlike most Grendels who had red eyes and black pupils, Spore’s eyes were entirely red. It was his height and his eyes that seemed to evoke fear into all other animals and not just the Grendels. Often when I had seen Spore walking around town there were many small animals that would go into hiding at the site of him. The reason for this is probably because there had been more than one occasion when Spore had murdered animals with his bare hands. This wasn’t unusual among Grendels, but most of them killed animals for food or just simply because they were irritating. Spore had been known to kill simply for the pleasure of it. This made even me sick. It was one thing to kill Norns without mercy; they were our sworn enemies. It was built into our instincts to go Norn hunting.
It was for these insidious reasons that Spore emanated a feeling of fear among the Grendels. It was probably the same reason that had brought him to challenge me. Although using fear to control people was a magnificent implement to use if the occasion called for it, and there was the odd soul who would benefit from being controlled I preferred to have the Grendels work as a team. If Spore were to overthrow me and come to power he would rule our tribe as a tyrant and a dictator.
This is the day your short reign ends”, Spore snarled.
I plucked up my courage and stuck out my chest in a defiant way. “I am a born leader”, I replied, “Sometimes it takes more than muscle to win a fight. Maybe you’ll learn that today, not that you will have a chance to use that knowledge in the future”.
His eyes narrowed in hatred. With one last snarl he spun around and walked off. Most likely to say a farewell to his friends, the thought made me laugh. I walked off to choose my weapon. Most people know how a Grendel fight works but if you don’t here’s how. Each fighter chooses an object to fight with. It can be a stick, rock or anything else. It could even be a flower if you thought it would do you any good. There are plenty of Grendels who wont get near a flower if they can prevent it.
I preferred to go without a weapon. I relied on my own strength and cunning. I didn’t believe I should need a weapon to be able to defeat any of the Grendels. Both Claw and Ivy chastised me for it, saying I should use something, even if it were just some sort of shield. I stuck to my beliefs however, and there were many who revered me for it.
Both Spore and I went to talk to our closest friends and warm up. I went over to Ivy and my brother, Claw. I was feeling pretty proud of myself for glaring down at Spore and this confident feeling only rose at the smile Ivy gave me… I mean the greeting I received from my friends.
Where’s Hoof?” I asked as a gruff greeting.
He’s watching over the Queen,” replied Claw. I met his eyes as he said this and I saw the visible pain it caused him to think about Hoof. Another of Hoof’s mad beliefs was that we shouldn’t fight amongst ourselves. Unlike the Queen’s belief that we needed all the able bodies we could get our hands on, Hoof thought it was just morally wrong to kill our own species. The idiot. As well as this idiotic belief I had noticed that Hoof seemed to eat less meat than other Grendels. He seemed to satisfy himself with foods more like honey or cheese. Perhaps he thought that killing other species was also wrong. Bloody Nornlover.
This fight won’t be as easy as the last two were Thorkil,” said Claw.
But we know you can win,” said Ivy, “It’s your destiny to rule Albia, one fool can’t stand in your way”.
I felt myself swell with pride at Ivy’s comment. “Good to see some people know what I’m capable of,” I grunted, trying to sound tough.
I trust the Queen,” answered Ivy, “If she believes that you are the link to ruling Albia then I believe you are too”.
In a few minutes I will prove to you that you needn’t just trust in the Queen. I’ll show you that what she believes is real,” I said with zeal.
Ivy smiled sweetly at my eagerness. Then suddenly her expression changed to one of confusion and sadness. “I wonder what possessed Spore and the others to challenge you?” she wondered out loud.
Birth defects?” suggested Claw.
Just plain stupid?” I added.
Ivy laughed before growing serious again. “No seriously. I mean if the Queen has the same influence on us as she does on the other Grendels, then why is it that there are some among us who would go against her will?”
I pondered this for a while. The thought had never occurred to me. It was one of the many things I liked about Ivy. She tended to think about things other Grendels wouldn’t. Perhaps in that way she was like Hoof, however Ivy’s faith in what we were doing had never failed. I often wished there were more Grendels like her. As smart as Claw was it just wasn’t the same as talking to Ivy.
The Queen knows a lot more than we do. There’s probably a reason behind everything that has happened” I said slowly.
Perhaps” said Ivy, but I could see it still troubled her.
Claw gave me a solid thump on the shoulder, a sign of friendship among Grendels. “And then again maybe he’s just thick in the head” he said with a laugh. I laughed along with him. Go get that insidious dope” he snarled. “Good luck”, said Ivy, giving me a playful pat on the cheek. My heart gave a small jump. I quickly turned and walked onto the battlefield so no one would see the dopey look that crossed my face. I observed the battlefield to distract my mind despite the obvious fact I had battled on the same field many times before. The field was mostly open but here and there trees were scattered.
Grunt was to umpire the match. He had taken a special interest in umpiring fights. Not that there is much to umpire. All you have to do is say which one person can no longer keep going. Still you do get a close view of the action.
As I was observing the field he came up to me. “Nice day for it” he mused.
Splendid” I said sarcastically. I didn’t particularly like Grunt all that much. It may have had something to do with his work ethics. While most of the other Grendels went about their daily routines Grunt was into some less productive hobbies. He was, as he liked to call it, a professional gambler. Simply put he found any activity he could, and wagered with other Grendels about the outcomes. Whether it be how many times he could hit a target with rocks, to the winner of a Grendel fight, Grunt would find a way to wager on it.
I didn’t particularly like the way my personal struggles could fill his belly. That and the fact his gambling turned him from his more important jobs.
So, is there anything an umpire should know about?” he asked innocently.
Such as?” I asked while I watched Spore take a sharp stick from a pile of weapons.
Oh, just any sort of impeding injury that most of the Grendels don’t know about”.
I have him a disgusted look. “I could certainly organize some sort of impeding injury,” I growled.
He backed off quickly. I gave a chuckle to myself as he scuttled away. As I went to get my own weapon I saw he had gone over to talk to Spore. They stood for a moment before Spore took a swipe at him and he ran off once again. I laughed out loud. If nothing else Spore had some good qualities.
Grunt got ready to start the fight. He called us both over to the center of the field. All the other Grendels crowded around the outskirts of the battlefield. They closed ranks until we had about ten square metres to move in.
Spore and I eyed each other off menacingly.
Grunt sucked in plenty of air. “BBUUURPPP” he went. A great cheer went up from the Grendels gathered.
The fight had started.
Grunt wasted no time and charged at me, stick raised. I had just enough time to see the end of it had been sharpened into a deadly point. I dodged to one side. The weapon may have been deadly, but Spore was slow in wielding it.
He circled around and came at me again. This time I was ready for him. I ducked under the spear, a move I generally wouldn’t have tried, but with Spore being so large and inexperienced with his choice of weapon it paid off. As I ducked I spun myself around and delivered a glancing blow to his gut, partially winding him.
He staggered under the weight of my attack and spun around to face me more slowly. I was tempted to take him while his back was turned and end the pitiful display quickly but some sense of honour made me hold my attack. The Grendels were expecting a good fight, and Grunt had to earn his payment.
Spore charged at me again, this time raising the stick above his head and using it as a club. I grabbed it in mid air and used it to throw him to the ground. I swung him round hard enough that he released the stick and slammed into the ground sending a spray of dust flying.
The Grendels have a cheer as I raised the stick above my head triumphantly. I waited until Spore looked back at me before snapping it over my knee.
Spore lifted himself to his feet with a growl. We started circling each other, giving out the occasional punch or kick. We both landed a few glancing blows, nothing that could be shaken off with adrenaline. Suddenly Spore launched forward, catching me off balance and his clawed foot lashed out at my shin. The attack wasn’t strong, but it surprised me enough to bring me to my knee. Seeing my vulnerability he stepped forward and smashed his clenched fist under my chin, sending me sprawling to the ground. I was lying on my back as he charged at me again. He raised a leg and prepared to bring it down into my stomach. I could see his claws were pointed downwards at me. I didn’t like to fight dirty, but the time was desperate.
I took a handful of dry dirt from the ground and tossed it into Spore’s face. His temporary blindness gave me the opportunity to roll away from him as his claws come down. They landed inches from where I had been lying, leaving small holes in the ground.
I rolled a few feet away and jumped up. In front of me was a piece of the broken stick Spore had been using. I picked it up just as Spore finished wiping his eyes clean from dirt. I threw the stick with all my might. He watched as it stuck itself into the ground several feet behind him. He gave a laugh. “You’ll need to be more accurate than…”
His head snapped back as I delivered a devastating blow to it. The stick had been nothing more than a distraction, a way to get him to turn his eyes behind him.
I raised my fist over my head. THWACK! Spore had recovered from my punch faster than I had thought he would. He had hit me in the stomach and winded me. I stepped back gasping for air. Red spots were flashing in my eyes. As the spots cleared I saw Spore coming at me with the broken stick. He lifted it high above his head. I pulled away from him but it only resulted in my back being exposed. The stick collided with my back, the end of it hitting me in the back of the head. The dots appeared again, and then my whole vision went red and slowly faded to black.

* * *

I must have fainted for a few seconds. The first thing I noticed was I had a splitting headache. The next thing I noticed was I was still on the battlefield and Spore was standing over me laughing.
So Thorkil” he said, loud enough for everyone to hear, “It is my hand that you die at”. He kicked me in the side. I heard myself cry out as I rolled over onto my stomach. The red dots were as blurry as the rest of my vision. Have to concentrate... think...
But it was no use I was fading...fading...
Then suddenly I know what to do. I pointed the palm of my hand at the tree a few metres in front of me. I fired a small pin into the tree; it was so small no one would notice. That was my secret weapon. No other possessed the power to shoot their poison.
Yes Thorkil”, crowed Spore, “Beg for mercy, I want to see you squirm”.
In your dreams NORN LOVER” I cried as I fired another pin. It hit the pin in the tree and ricocheted off it and flew behind me. I heard a yelp of pain (Spore) and grinned to myself. I jumped to my feet. Spores cried of pain had given me new strength. I spun around to see Spore clutching his face. I could smell blood. Ha I though, right in the eye. I lowered my head and charged. I hit him in the stomach. He made an “OOF” sound as I knocked the wind out of him. I hit him again and he went down, never to get up again. For a split second I almost felt sorry for him. But then the power of my birthright kicked in.
Well Spore, looks like the tides have turned,” I said, “I told you the smartest wins”.
You proved me wrong,” he said, trying to sit up. He was still clutching at his wounded eye. “You really are our leader, you are meant to rule Albia”.
I placed my hand to his forehead.
Pity you won’t be here to see it,” I muttered. He gave a small gasp as I fired a pin strait into his brain.
Goodbye Spore” I muttered, “Parting is such sweet sorrow”.

* * *

We celebrated that night. Drink and food was plentiful. But this night wasn’t going to be all fun. I could feel it. Just as I’d expected Claw came running.
What is it Claw?” I mumbled, more than slightly drunk.
He placed his hands on his knees and through his puffing said, “It’s the Queen”.
I was on my feet immediately and running to the queen’s chambers with Claw a few feet behind me.
What happened?” I called.
She nearly collapsed, now she just keeps saying she’s hungry” he called back. We reached the tree where the queen hangs. I dropped to one knee and bowed slightly.
Your majesty” I said as I got to my feet, “What is the problem?”
Yes, what do you need my queen?” I asked.
Need Norns,” she answered. Then her body sagged as she fainted.
She’s been bibbling for a while now,” said Claw sadly, “She seems to be confused about her problem and our mission”.
She’s not confused,” I said.
You mean?”
Yes” I said, “Tomorrow we go Norn hunting”.

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