Kerrix had been searching after the small town of Zelata for weeks now, fighting not only the sinister corruption of Sanctuary's wildlife but the environment itself. As he stumbled over the sprawling roots of the forest bed he was reminded of how tedious exploring really was. His heavy chain mail armor had begun to rust in the lush, damp forest atmosphere. Carrying his weapons through all of the roots and thick foliage had been a chore. At one point he even lost his axe to a particularly nasty bush, which turned out to have more interest in his flesh than he would have thought. After spending nearly all of that day's light time struggling with the demonic plant he managed to retrieve his axe, but not after violently cursing and spitting at the plant which had caused him so much trouble.
Kerrix had slain many foes in his time with his wicked axe and stalwart shield, but even he could not slay a forest.
That very same day, Kerrix spotted thin trails of smoke in the distance. With renewed vigor and the demon plant all but forgotten, Kerrix marched for the town that could only be Zelata.
As he strode into the village, his heavy chain armor clanked and rattled with rust, and his fierce weapons hung lazily on his side. The villagers were out and about fulfulling their daily routines, tanning hides and drying meat to save for the days ahead. Most of them stared unabashedly at this newcomer while doing their chores, he was dressed in armor not suited for the thick forests surrounding Zelata. Kerrix took the stare in his stride, as the villagers must have been admiring his awesome presence and imposing figure. He was fairly used to this reaction from common peasents so it no longer bothered him. As he walked through the village, he noted that the place smelled horrid. He could not put his finger on what the smell was, or where it came from, all he knew was that it was terrible. Kerrix made his way to the largest building in town and banged on the door, they groaned with the force of his blows and flung open quite easily. The smell was even worse in here. There was a man in decent clothing perusing through papers and signing documents. He was sitting in a small desk not far away from the door, and he gave Kerrix a nasty, appraising look as he put down his current work to deal with him. The man cleared his throat and said with what looked like forced cheer
"Hello...sir. My name is Tormal, i am what you could call mayor of the village of Zelata. What business does a man of your type have here?"
Kerrix walked into the room and took a seat adjacent to the desk Tormal was sitting at. He brought out the map he had been given and splayed it out over the table, spilling an ink well and not giving any regard to the scrolls and delicate parchment already there.
"This town is Zelata. Where is treasure? Kerrix will get treasure." Kerrix stated. He had never been one for words, or for reading. He only knew the name of the town because someone had shown him what that word on the map sounded like. He figured the scrolls and books on the desk were worthless. Tormal wrinkled his nose in disgust, but nevertheless responded with curt manners and respect,
"Ah yes, one of the many adventurous types, we get those around here quite often. There is something of value in a cave not far from here, but i doubt you could reach it, nobody else far has succeeded. What makes you think that you -Kerrix was it?- could do the impossible?"
Immediately Kerrix retorted "Kerrix is mighty warrior! Kerrix break bones and spill blood! Show Kerrix treasure now, or Kerrix will Cut you in half!"
Clearly unimpressed, Tormal spoke in mock fear "Oh no don't kill me mighty barbarian! The treasure is just south of town, in a small cave, but beware of the undead guardians! Though they should be nothing for one of you're strength!"
"Whats an un... undead?"
"Skeletons and such."
"What way is south"
"Down that way."
"Oh. Ok, Kerrix will go get treasure now. Puny bones stand no chance against big axe."
And with that Kerrix went, armed with the knowledge of treasure and the ignorance of ten men, he charged out of the room to meet what he thought would be an easy goal. Tormal grinned with a knowing smirk on his face.
At the mouth of the cave, Kerrix's (up until recently) unbreakable spirit wavered. The entrance was dank and dripping wet with moisture. He could not see more than a few feet inside from the entrance, and a ghastly odor was emanating from deep in the bowels of the cave. Worse than but similar to that of the village. Kerrix did not like dark places, let alone being threatened by enemies inside of them. As he was staring into the cave to work up the courage to get inside, Tormal appeared beside him.
"Why hello there friend," he said with a disconcertingly mirthful tone, "What seems to be the problem? Don't tell me a small cave scares away the mighty Kerrix?"
Kerrix's face twisted up with anger from not only being surprised by Tormal's presence, but from his bravado being insulted "NO! No cave can scare Kerrix! I am brave!" he spat in a fury.
"Well the treasure is there waiting for you, if you're man enough to face the dangers within." Tormal sat on a closebye stump and stared into the sky as if he didn't really care about the whole situation at all. He muttered more to himself than to Kerrix "Hmm, i imagine you'll just flee like all of the rest. Nobody is ever going to get that treasure there, maybe i can try for it later..."
Kerrix abruptly interrupted Tormal's musings with a yell, and barely comprehensible he screamed "NO! Kerrix was here first! This is Kerrix's Treasure! Tormal go back to you're ugly papers and scrolls!"
With that, Kerrix only grunted and charged weapons drawn into the cave. Tormal again smiled and began to hum a small tune, as he walked off to prepare for the upcoming fun. It truly had been a long time since Zelata had any worth while visitors.
Kerrix had at first been enraged by Tormal's comments, and that was enough to get him inside of the cave, but immediately the overwhelming darkness and crippling stench made the warrior lose all sense of direction and placement. As he groped for a path to follow in the cave, he felt something scratch his shield arm. Immediately Kerrix screamed into the darkness and swung his shield as hard as he could to his side, accompanied by a shattering noise and fragments of bone flying throughout the cave. Kerrix hastily lit the only torch he had -his one intelligent preparation- and upon further investigation, he found that he had been battling with a dead body, not an undead body. In fact, there was an ominous amount of corpses, most of them quite far decayed, but some had clothes on and rotting flesh still on the bone. Rats and insects of all sizes scurried around the remains, feasting on the human bodies. Kerrix snorted with false bravery, these people were too weak to claim victory, and he would do so this day.
Out of the corner of his eye, Kerrix spotted a pedestal at the top of a short set of unnervingly perfect carved stairs. On top of this pedestal was what appeared to be an old iron-bound chest! He had finally found the treasure! Eagerly Kerrix jammed his torch into a small hole in the cave wall and ran for the stairs. The instant that Kerrix set foot on the first step, he heard loud, muffled moans and the hideous sound of exposed flesh slapping against the cold, damp rock of the cave floor. With the speed of fear, Kerrix turned to face his new foes. The corpses which had been up until recently silent and dead, now rose up into new un-life, and shambled their way towards the bewildered barbarian.
Without any options and backed into a corner, Kerrix used his fear to charge forward and directly into the undead. The first he encountered was far advanced in its decay, merely bones with only a rusted dagger gripped in his four remaining fingers. Kerrix brought his axe down hard directly on top of the monster's head, and with a resounding crack the beast's head ripped down through its own spine and it's body shattered into bone fragments and dust. Not a moment later, one of the more fresh undead zombies latched onto Kerrix's exposed back and bit a small chunk out of his shoulder. Kerrix howled with rage and grabbed the monsters head in both hands, squeezing with all of his might to destroy the demon as he bashed the knees of another with his iron boots. The zombie's skull quickly gave way to his brutish hands and exploded into a mess of brains and gore. Kerrix then hoisted the body which was still struggling to hold on up into the air, and threw it into the advancing undead. The zombie's body broke through a skeleton's pelvis and shattered its legs, knocking both of them to the ground. Kerrix uttered an arrogant laugh, until he realized that the skeleton's torso began to pull itself towards him, and that the headless zombie had managed to get back on it's feet. These enemies just would not stay dead. He parried the sword blow of a skeleton with his large axe and pushed forward, lodging the skeleton's weapon into its own skull. The skeleton staggered off to the side, struggling to pull it's weapon from it's head. Kerrix felt a tugging on his arm, and numerous rotting zombies with flies feeding on their exposed, naked flesh were ripping violently at the shield that protected him. Kerrix attempted to save the shield by bashing forward and knocking them off balance, but there were too many to push all together so their combined dead weight held him back. Reluctantly he surrendered his shield, but not before using it to break a grasping cadaver's jawbone. To compensate for his lost weapon, he unsheathed his smaller hatchet from his belt loop. As fear began to subside and adrenaline took its place, Kerrix became a dervish of steel, flailing wildly and seemingly randomly, spilling coagulated blood and breaking brittle bones with his two cruel axe blades. A zombie had both of its arms cut off by twin strikes from Kerrix's deadly axes, and he shouldered its useless body to the side before crushing its head with his boots. The more blood that was spilled, the more veraciously the barbarian fought. Two skeletons attempted to disarm him of his larger weapon, but Kerrix snorted with anger and bashed his skull against the nearest skeleton's, shattering it utterly. The second skeleton hissed as it held on to the pommel of his war axe, and Kerrix pulled the weapon away so sharply that the hand was still attached. With no time to remove it, he slammed the hilt through the skeleton's ribcage, and cleaved a grisly wound through the shoulder of an approaching zombie. Rusty weapons clanked uselessly against his heavy mail armor, and only a few hits on his exposed shoulder and arms scored true. Bruised and bloodied but far from defeated, Kerrix slaughtered this group of undead over and over, until they were too beaten to rise again.
Just as he began to think that this battle was finally over, a large and heavily armored figure marched its way towards the hardened warrior.
This was no normal undead, it was different from the others. Kerrix could smell blood on this creature, blood of many adventurers, most likely that of the ones he had just slain more than once over. This demon towered over Kerrix, (who was around six feet tall) this abomination had to be at least eight. It had full and eerily new looking black plated armor unlike its undead allies and it's shoulders were spiked with the heads of a few of it's unfortunate victims, faces frozen in endless and horrific screams from the death this creature had brought upon them. Its flesh was pale white covered in diseased boils and horrible welts, oozing untold sickness and decay. The creature may have been man once, but it was so far corrupted and twisted that it was barely recognizable as one.. Before Kerrix could determine if this beast was living, dead, or niether, it charged directly at him, death gleaming in its beady eyes.
This demon's size beguiled it's speed and quickness, as Kerrix was taken unawares compared to the time he had spent fighting the near endless slow and lurching undead. With one of it's claws the demon slammed Kerrix to the side, tearing a sizeable hole in his precious chain mail armor and throwing him into the rock wall of the cave. Before he could do more than put his axes up to shield his face, the corrupt creature bit at Kerrix's right leg, denting the iron plate and shredding the chain mail. Kerrix howled more from fear and suprise than out of pain as the iron had blocked most of the damage, and slashed his smaller axe at the creature's exposed neck. The demon however saw the weapon and dived to the side, taking a painful blow to the arms instead of a fatal one to the neck. This gave Kerrix the opportunity to stand, and as he recovered the creature charged forward with reckless abandon a second time. Kerrix hefted his larger axe and threw it with all of his might into the charging creature, staggering it back with suprise and inflicting a brutal wound to its chest, shattering the shining black plate mail and rending the diseased flesh. Wasting no time, the barbarian jumped forward and pinned the creature down with his weight, jabbing his hatchet into the vile creature's face, chest, and neck. Black blood spurted all over Kerrix and the creature, and its struggles died down with an unnatural hissing sound. As Kerrix stood, waiting for his next challenger, silence was all that greeted him.
The torch in the wall was nearly burnt out, and Kerrix's strength was all but gone from the ferocious humanoid demon creature and undead hordes that had assailed him. He wondered if he would have the strength to drag the chest outside with him. As he painfully ascended the stairs he discarded his leg armor, which was rendered useless from the demon's teeth. The chest he had been waiting for so long stood in front of him, and he could not resist looking inside before he took it with him. Immediately upon opening the chest, a noxious and otherwordly gas shot out, rendering the warrior unconcious. He was so weak that the effect was instant, he had no idea what had happened to him before it was too late.
Kerrix awoke in the same chamber, the same undead he had recently slaughtered remained in peices around him, the hulking corpse of the humanoid demon he had slain slumped against the wall, torn open in innumerable places, and still trickling some of it's black blood. It gave him some pride to see his work, and as he was admiring this he heard a familiar voice from close by.
"Why hello there, Kerrix." Said Tormal in an almost musical tone.
Kerrix suddenly realized that he was chained to a wall in the cave, unable to move. He tried to struggle, but he was far too weak from the battle to break free and his feeble attempts only served to amuse the villagers who were surrounding the battered fighter in a tight semi circle.
Kerrix rasped out a reply "Tormal! What this? Let Kerrix go now! Kerrix will destroy you! Why you do this to Kerrix?"
Tormal only sighed a knowing sigh and strode up to Kerrix, he was now inches away from the battered fighter's face. His blue robes began to show in the torch light, and a once normal looking human was covered in corruption of the flesh and innumerable demonic diseases. Tormal and his villagers were now showing their true colors, the veils of humanity they wore like clothes shattered in an instant. in a croaking and painfully clear tone, Tormal spoke.
"Indeed, sanctuary has never sent us one so perfect as you. The cult is always looking for new members, either to fail and die to the shrine guardians and become one of the undead -which you seem to have conquered quite utterly-" Tormal gestured towards the heaping pile of rotting flesh and splintered bone that used to be the undead guarding the cultist's shrine. "Or to succeed in a blaze of glory, and to destroy our master's chosen vessel! Of course, you'll be wondering what the reward is for such a feat?" Tormal's eyes glinted with pure malevolence, and even though Kerrix understood the feeling behind his words, he had no idea what pain and horror he was about to behold. Tormal brandished a wicked dagger, carved from human bone with a hilt made from flesh that pulsed and writhed like living muscle. "You're treasure, you're reward in a way, is to become the new vessel that our master chooses to possess. Any among us would easily die for such an honor, i envy you Kerrix." Tormal gave Kerrix another look, one of pure hatred and jealousy, as he began to chant in a rhythmic and foreign tongue.
Kerrix could barely comprehend what Tormal had said as his dagger began to cut hellish runes into his exposed flesh. The screams of the once-human barbarian resonating from the cave were muffled by the thick trees of the forest canopy.
So for my first ever story, that i wrote in one sitting this morning, how did i do?
Were the character names decent? town name?
Was the undead battle scene as amazing as i thought it was?
I know i needed to do a better beginning, like when Kerrix was in the forest and in the town, but again this was a short story so i didn't feel the need to go into backrgound..but i kind of want to.
This story is (depending on feedback) going to be the prologue to a different story that i am writing about the cults of sanctuary.
Fan Fiction Title: A Great Recruitment Policy
Part/Chapter: The story in its entirety
Review: While certainly being packed with both great and grim action scenes, "A Great Recruitment Policy" lacks believable characters and scenes. I, for one, disliked how the protagonist had the emotional depth of a puddle, and the intelligence of a rock. It just makes it difficult for me to bond with the main character. Maybe after fighting through a cave of demons, the character would become more and more cautious? Perhaps, for your next story, you could also work on describing the setting a little more. In my minds eye, I found Zelata to be little more than a collection of huts with a large house in the middle. In summary, you had great, vivid action scenes - but need to work a bit more on your writing.
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