A Story From the Skulltaker
“The Fight in the Mountains”
I had left that imbecile witch hunter and his cronies behind. I didn’t need them, and I had grown tired of their company. Even if I’d had a choice in the matter, I would have left them behind, probably in several bloody pieces.
But I’m getting ahead of myself aren’t I?
I have yet to decide if it is a blessing or a curse, but I seem to wake up in different realities every so often. More often than not this switch heralds a new bout of bloodshed and violence in my life, which is always welcome, as such… I look upon these transferences with mixed feelings at best.
I’ve been in this world for about 3 months as far as I can tell, the longest I’ve spent in any one place in quite some time. I’d even made something close to a friend, well, more of a comrade in arms rather than a friend. Tarik, a dwarf who was pretty good in a fight, last I saw him; he travelled with a few other adventurers on various heroic actions.
Well, to make a long story shorter, and bring myself to the point. I’d grown tired of sitting around the tavern drinking the goats water the called ale there and had set off for the mountains, which I’d been told, are full of Orcs.
Or as I like to call them, “warm ups”
So I had travelled to the mountains and much to my chagrin, found that there were orcs, lots of them… in fact, the orcs were lead by a young dragon.
As much as I hate to admit it, I wasn’t exactly prepared to tackle a dragon on my own (though I’m sure wrestling it would have been some fun.) So I retired from the mountains, sulking over the fact I’d only found one Orc worth prizing a skull from.
Which brings me to the focus of my tale, my little fight in the mountains.
I was nearing the exit of the pass when an arrow arced down from the sky and planted itself 2 strides in front of me.
I do not appreciate being greeted by arrows….
A figure strides up the road towards me, an elf from the looks of it.
I hate elves….
“Ho there traveler! What business have you in these mountains?” The Elf calls out.
“I go where I damn well please, Elf, by what right do you question me?” I reply.
The elf seems rather off put by my reaction, arrogant knife-ear.
“The mountains abut our forest, and we have interest in the goings on here.”
Knife ears having interest in the mountains? Fat chance.
“Look here, Elf, my business is my own, but if it’ll set your mind at ease, I was here hunting orcs.” I raise the Prized Skull from the orc.
It’s a disgusting thing admittedly, much in need of cleansing. The orc’s skull is covered in rotting flesh, one of its eyes is hanging from it, and its tongue lolls out of its mouth. Cut into its forehead is the Mark of Khorne, my God.
The Elf visibly pales at the sight of it.
“Oh come now.” I say jovially “sure it still needs a little cleaning, but it’ll make a fine trophy once I’ve burned everything else off.”
“That mark” the Elf says shakily.
“Oh this here? What of it?” I ask in a jocular tone, I feel a grin creeping across my face.
“That is the mark of the blood god” he stammers.
As if I don’t know that.
“Is it now? What of it Elf?”
The elf’s fear is palatable, this is great.
“I… uh… I... UZIEL!!! KHORNATE CULTIST!”
Now that’s a bit harsh, cultist has very strong implications about one’s intelligence.
Having alerted his bow-toting comrade, the Knife ear draws his sword and springs at me.
Oh goodie, fisticuffs.
I feel a maniac grin split my face as I close the distance with the elf. He raises his sword, bringing it down in a glittering arc to split my skull. I leap forward and grab his sword arm, stopping his blow in its tracks; I ball my other hand into a fist and bring it crashing into his face. I feel more than hear the crunch of bone and blood spurts from the elf’s nose all over my fist.
The elf crashes to the ground in a heap, stunned by the blow. “not even worth my time” I think to myself, I’m willing to go on my way at this point, he certainly isn’t worth my time, and I’d rather not smirch my axe with his blood.
An arrow soars out of the bushes a little ways up a nearby hill and buries itself in the meat of my chest.
It hurts. A lot.
Funny thing about pain, it doesn’t slow my people down, it just makes us angry. Very angry in fact. I myself have ripped smaller creatures bodily in half whilst in a fit of rage. I feel this killing fury building within me as my head whips around to the source of the arrow. I reach over my shoulder and pull my axe off of my back. The elf on the ground is picking himself up off the ground I look at him and spit at him in contempt. “I was content to pass here in peace, a rarity for my kind I assure you, but now I’ll have one of your skulls if either of ye be worth the fight!” The elf lunges at me yelling “in the name of correllon, I will slay thee fiend.” I easily sidestep his blow and lash out with my axe. “Better men than you have tried.” I snarl
“Better men aye monster! But I’m an Elf” the elf declares taking another swing at me. Which I block with the haft of my axe.
“Men are better than elves knife ear, and here’s a tip, try less melodrama” I state calmly while bringing my axe around in a brutal arc that ends in the elf’s chest. My blow takes him to the ground, my axe catching on the remains of his shattered ribs. The elf has a panicked look in his eyes; no doubt his world has shrunk to include only the feeling of my great axe buried within his chest. That and my hands dipping into his lifeblood which is gushing forth into a red lake around his body. I take the blood on my fingers and ink Khorne’s Mark onto each side of both blades on my axe; the blood smokes and congeals on the blade, blackening quickly.
Another arrow whistles through the air and catches me in the side. I grunt in pain and turn towards the bushes. I can see the archer now; he has a grim look on his face. I level my axe in his direction and yell at him.
“Do you think you can do better?” And rush up the hill. As I climb the hill another arrow flies towards me, I feel it hit me, but I feel no pain. Time seems to slow down and speed up at the same time; I’m 20 strides away as another arrow flies down the hill, this one skidding off of my shoulder.
15 strides away.
I bellow a wordless battle-cry at the elf, feeling rage course through my veins, turning my muscles into iron bands ready to crush this puny elf. I see him drop his bow to the ground
10 strides away.
I push myself even faster, closing the distance as I raise my axe to bring it through his fragile body.
The elf draws a longsword and sets himself.
5 strides away.
I leap forward bringing my axe down on the elf, but he dives out of the way and sends a returning blow into my back. I can feel blood running down my back as I turn to face the elf.
“My name is Cog, known as The Skulltaker flesh, what is yours?”
“My name is Uziel, Cur. And I will send you to hell.”
Laughing, I rush the elf again, meaning to barge him down the mountainside. He deftly checks my headlong rush with a swipe of his longsword. I stop short of the blow and swing my axe at him. He ducks it and attempts to step into my guard. I take a step back and bring my axe in close to my body, blocking with the haft of my Axe as if it were a quarterstaff. The elf rains blows down upon me, left, right, top, left, top, right, down, left. THRUST! I push his sword away from me and spin inside HIS guard and hammer the pommel of my axe into his gut, he doubles over as the air rushes out of him and I reach forward and push him off the ledge we are standing on.
The elf tumbles down the hill and bounces twice in a very satisfying manner.
The elf lays stunned at the base of the hill for only a moment before springing to his feet.
“You’ll find me harder to kill than that pup.” He yells up to me.
“Good!” I call back. “I was worried this was going to be a complete waste of my time.”
I begin to walk down the hill, axe resting on my shoulder.
“There’s something I want you to know Uziel.” I tell him. “If you keep doing this well I’ll be taking your sword as well as your skull.”
He draws himself up into a fighting stance and replies in a grim voice. “I’d take that as a compliment if I didn’t plan on killing you.”
Without ceremony, he lunges at me, hoping to stab me before I reach level ground. I bring my axe around in a great arc knocking his sword out of the way. I step forward and aim a horrid swing at his head, which he barely bats aside. The force of my blow knocks him off balance and I press him harder, raining blows just as quickly on him as he did on me. I settle into a comfortable rhythm, my axe swishing through the air back and forth, seeking his fragile body. I slowly weave a net of steel around him, leaving him nowhere to escape. He attempts to break the deadlock repeatedly, scything in with his sword whenever he thinks he can break my rhythm.
Unfortunately for him, the sensuous women of the pleasure god are far more adept at this than he, and I have bested them in combat as well. Also unfortunate, this costs him his hand. He lashes out with his sword, aiming for my face. I raise my axe up in both hands, leaving his sword pointed up towards the sky; I follow the motion of my arms with the head of my axe. His fore arm and hand, still clutching his sword, fall to the ground in a welter of blood as he staggers back, screaming in pain.
He utters a curse in elven. At least, I assume he’s cursing, not speaking a word of that soft language. He collapses to his knees, trying to staunch the flow of blood.
I stand before him holding my axe. “Uziel, know that you’re name shall live forever, you have proved yourself worthy, and I shall carry your name and your sword into battle and legend for the rest of my days.” I tell him.
He looks up at me with fear in his eyes and shakes his head. He stammers “no” pleading for his life.
My axe flickers out and his body falls over into the dirt, a lake of blood oozing forth from the severed stump of his neck.
I pick up his skull and whisper his name to myself so that I will remember it. I pry his sword, a work of the elven art surely, out of the broken thing that was his arm and walk over to his corpse, I lay the head of my axe in the blood, coating both sides of its wickedly sharp head.
I raise his sword and his head to the sky and shout out for my deity; for I know he can hear me, regardless of where I walk.
BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!
SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE!
My ritual complete, I sheath his sword at my waist and replace my sword on my back. And I hang uziel’s skull on the same chain that holds the orc.
My wounds ache. I will likely rest before I finish my trek out of the mountains….