An interpretive look at an RPG...
Now that a certain lawyer from licensing for an RPG, one sourced at Palladium Books (Rifts to be precise) has contacted me and said "Go for it, as long as you post the copyright at the bottom of a post, we're ok with it." I can find out if the story I'm writing makes any sense to a general viewing party.
So...*grumbles* Indenting is clumsy. hmf. For the sake of simplicity...
"Damn me," Jerdah grumbled for the hundredth time trying hard not to feel panic.
"Rifts is copyright and trademark 2012 Palladium Books, Inc. All rights reserved.\"
He had kept moving ever since his dog spotted the huge worm for the second time. He was certain it was tracking him. Damn, was that it up ahead? His hand shook as he drew his gun. No. A tree's scrubby shadow waving about in the wind of all things. A worm could be hiding anywhere up ahead keeping an eye on him. All he could do is keep running. He knew that if he could make it to the nearest town, he might be able to lose it. His people had a healing touch. A touch that was able to keep his horse moving at such a grueling pace. But he knew he couldn't keep it up. Even now, his horse was flagging. He was going to have to walk her. He could simply "ghost walk," out of trouble if it turned hot quick, an ability that effectively turned him into a ghost, but he also moved about as fast as a ghost too; that is, about as fast as a slow walk. And that was an ability he wouldn't be able to keep up for long anyhow. Drags whuffed at his side. He took a deep breath and smiled encouragingly. His dog had the stamina of any two mules and could probably keep moving for another few days.Drags stopped moving, the tentacles on his snout twitching curiously as he sniffed the air.
"What is it boy?"
Big magic. Drags almost barked. Man who likes dogs. Help.
"If he likes dogs he might like you then, eh?"
With his Nymbu staff in one hand, the reins of his horse in the other he plodded forward, weary but anxious to meet this man.
He felt guilty though. It's a bad thing to be bringing death at a stranger's door.
His attunement to time's flow was a mere touch on the wind but constant. However like any of the other senses, one needs to pay attention to make use of it. Still, he was rarely ever taken by surprise. Something was coming. Like smelling danger or feeling and wincing at a discordant note on a flute. He focused his senses, both mystic and mundane on his campsite and the surrounding area. The clearing was silent in the growing twilight except for the slight crackle in the fire pit. The woods seemed to heave a slow sigh as a light breeze blew. The campsite was surrounded by broken pillars where some ancient building had once stood. A slight rising incline where a game path was, partially obscured by a large boulder at the edge of the campsite, the owl in a nearby tree, turning its head every which way, the fox in a further thicket scenting the fire worriedly, he felt the harmony singing from out of nature. The twilight rising in a song within him. The various animals that lived in the area, their senses became his for a moment. He sensed the approach of a few strangers, innocent folk, fearful, a human type person, a horse, and a dog? A smart one if so. He sensed that they were being followed at a fair distance. He nodded to himself. They would bring what he was hunting for.
Dusk's eyes focused on a dog trotting, veering away from the path heading toward his camp, followed by a man carrying a staff and leading a lightly laden horse that was obviously exhausted.
Doglike, he amended, as the shepherd-sized critter bound up to him and he saw the short furry tentacles at the end of its snout. Recognizing the relatively harmless and usually good-natured "whisker coyote," he bent down to give it a pat and chuckled when it licked him in the face, tentacles tickling his chin.
"Howdy mister." The stranger took in the camp with a quick, furtive glance.
"Well enough. How do yerself?" Dusk replied.
As he stood up, he saw that stranger was of his own seven foot height, but the similarity ended there. Bald, ridged head was exposed as he took off his cowboy hat revealing pale gray skin with features a light tan here and there. Small dark eyes mounted on what looked to be his ears or ear flaps and small thin fins along both sides of the face near the jaw line. A fennodi, they call themselves. D-bees that were famous for two things; their love of a roaming cowboy way of life, and chain smoking. Decent, harmless folk in the main. (The term "d-bee" refers to other-dimensional/reality beings. Most mages know this term is inaccurate but throughout the years the term stuck and is now commonly used.)
The slit of a mouth smiled hesitantly as he came up. Taking in Dusk's unshaven features, almond shaped eyes the color of deep amber and thick unruly black hair tied back by a dark brown bandanna seemed harmless enough. However, Dusk's massive frame moved with a quick dangerous grace under his light open duster making his hand move a little closer to the gun on his hip.
But no. Drags said he was ok and he may be of some help.
"Well, I was hoping to make it to town before sunset. How much further is it to Charity?"
"Charity? About twenty miles or so. Although I'd say you'd do better with Testament or Hope." Both towns had a serious rep for having law abiding, peaceful folk…and the lawmen to keep it that way.
You had to be quick on the draw in Charity though. Nasty place.
He sighed. "I guess I won't make it then." He sounded bleak as he looked around the campsite.
Dusk looked at the lathered horse and said, "Looks as if you won't be getting much further. You being chased or something?"
"Yeah, and I think I still am by something really bad." He eyes went toward the path.
"So you led your problem here?"
Jerdah's head hung low. He was scared and desperate and wanted help but he didn’t want to get someone else hurt while helping him. "I'm really sorry. I was already on the path, and my dog led me here, trying to be all helpful..."
Dusk smiled and raised his hands in dismissive but placating gestures cutting him off.
"Hell, don't worry yourself none. I think your problem is something I might be looking for anyway. At least this way I might get the drop on it." He nodded over to Drags; "But promise me your dog won't mess up my tent." The whisker coyote was furiously sniffing all around the leather tent.
"Drags, back off the man's tent there."
The dog whuffed smugly.
Jerdah gratefully shook hands. "I'm Jerdah. The pooch's name is Drags, as in 'drags me all over the damned place.'" Drags whuffed a greeting.
"Like the sun setting to?" The humor sounded forced.
"Something like that," Dusk said wryly, as he motioned to a far pillar. "The wind will shift in a bit, so you might want to tie your horse over there and then you can tell me what is chasing you, assuming that is that it ain't right on your tail.
Jerdah nodded gratefully and hustled over. As he unsaddled his horse, he saw that Dusk had a mechanical horse, a robot that is supposed to be faster and stronger than a real horse, but just isn't a real horse. Jerdah thought derisively through his own exhaustion and anxiety. His eyes traced the outlines of two rather large rifles of some sort almost hidden underneath a saddle blanket and he saw a sword strapped to the side of a horse's saddle.
"Looks like you have some serious hardware on your horse," Jerdah mentioned almost hopeful to Dusk as he squatted nervously by the fire.
Big magic, Drags whuffed.
"They're busted," Dusk said a bit distractedly. He sensed tendrils of a presence coming closer. There. Behind the boulder and another near the bush by the path.
"My problem is a worm wraith...I think."
"Never got a look at it, but Drags was spooked hard by something he thought a snake and I hear tell that there were a few of these wraiths in these parts. They might even be working together." Jerdah looked around nervously.
Dusk raised a skeptical eyebrow.
"Hey man, Drags don't spook easily and if he says it's close by then its close by! Them worm wraiths are killers. No reason for what they do. If it lives and breathes they want it dead. And if one is tracking me them others might be close too." He seemed almost hysterical.
Dusk quickly drew his laser pistol in a blur of motion and fired a couple of shots into the bush. Holstering his gun he turned back to Jerdah, who had his hand on his own gun holster.
"Whoa!" Dusk said quickly, raising his empty hands. He walked over to the bush and drew his vibro-knife. He turned and neatly skewered upon it appeared to be a wriggling snake of some sort about 12 feet in length.
Walking back to the fire, he sensed the tendril by the boulder quickly moving away.
Examining it closely by the firelight, he noticed that the "snake" had no head and appeared as if some large pale gray worm.
Dusk gave a satisfied nod. "I'd say it's a mite late for leaving."
"Well, you don't sound worried," Jerdah said in consternation, his ear flaps nervously went forward and snapped flat against his head alternating his range of sight between looking squarely into Dusk's own amber eyes to ranging over the area even as he readied his shotgun.
A worm wraith is a mass of dozens of such large worms, forming itself into a humanoid figure. With an unexplained hatred of humans and humanoids, they created death and destruction wherever they went. He sensed the worm wraith's stealthy approach but coming in fast.
Dusk gave a wry smile, "I'm something of a hunter." He nodded toward Jerdah's ready shotgun. "But keep that handy just in case."
"Just in case of what?" He gestured at the skewered worm. "That…thing just ate several of your shots and it’s still trying to get away."
Had he blinked he would have missed it. But Drags began growling...
The worm wraith appeared as if out of nowhere, leaping down from the boulder its worm entwined body covered by a gray duster and wearing a cowboy hat. Dusk had moved even faster. Dropping the skewered worm, a pair of blue, glittering, sword shaped shadows...or something appeared in each hand. He lopped both of the wraith's gun-toting "hands" off and kicked it in the chest sending it crashing back to the boulder and rebounding off into Dusk's decapitating swing. Sending its "head" sailing, it landed near the fire, multiple worm bodies bleeding. His strange swords blinked out of existence as Dusk quickly muttered a spell. Moving to the fire he cupped a hand in it as if cupping water. Scooping out a handful of flame, he threw it on the bleeding worm mass. The fire pit flared and every worm in the area was reduced to ashes.
Jerdah and Drags looked at each other. Yeah, just in case of what? That damn thing had been tailing them for the past couple of days. Neither had much slept in that time. He had hoped to reach town before it caught up to them, but his horse just wasn't up to it. Then Drags sensed someone up ahead that that had big magic but still, worm wraiths were tough critters that took a large heavily armed posse or a powerful mage to take down. It would have only laughed at his shotgun.
And one man with a pair of blue, shadowy, sword-like... whatever took it down in a minute.
Jerdah stared as Dusk went to his mechanical horse and opened up a saddlebag and withdrew a foot long metal cylinder. Returning to the boulder where most of the ash remains of the worm wraith were, he carefully scooped up the ashes in the tube, capping it when it was full. Jerdah followed Dusk when he returned the full tube to the saddlebag and noticed several other tubes.
"You were hunting the worm wraith, weren't you?
"There were a few more around these parts, weren't there?"
Dusk scrutinized the weary fennodi. "Why don't you take a spot at the fire and have a smoke."
"Um...ya. That sounds like a good idea."
Jerdah's hands were trembling as he rolled a cigarette, half of the tobacco dropping to the ground. His eyes blinking rapidly on his earflaps. As he finally got it lit, Dusk sat across the fire. "How long was this thing on you?"
Jerdah blew smoke from his nasal passages that were behind his jaw fins as well as exhaling smoke from his mouth. "A couple of days. How long were you hunting them?"
"You do know that it might come back?" A worm wraith had the ability to reform itself if one of its worms escaped.
"Maybe." Dusk sometimes had a difficulty with interpreting expressions in other clearly not-so-human beings. But the strain of the past couple days on the fennodi was obvious. Dusk clapped him gently on the shoulder and went and picked up a strange staff from near his mount that seemed composed of segmented rings.
"Something that might help ease your mind," Dusk said. Under Jerdah's wary gaze he began a low chant as he walked the perimeter of the camp.
Focusing the ambient magic in the area while dragging one end of the staff in the desert floor he drew a large circle. He then deliberately shook it rattling the rings ending his chant, then planted it in the center near the fire so it stood straight up and it began to emit a soft glow. Warmth that had nothing to do with the fire stole through Jerdah sapping away his recent fear and almost against his will he found himself relaxing, lying down his pack pillowing his head. He somehow knew that nothing would trouble him and that he'd be safe for the night. And with his trusted dog curling up near him, his last thought before falling asleep was that it has been a long time since he had ever felt this peaceful.
Dusk stood for a moment watching the glowing staff. Made from a giant rattle from some giant talking rattlesnake. It not only cast a protective circle, when activated and left overnight it recharged anything magic or psychic, and even made people feel better. Recharging them I suppose, he thought. He looked over the fennodi and whisker coyote. They'll wake up from a good night's sleep feeling good as new. He sighed. That snake had promised to make his innermost desires come true. Damn near killed him instead. He looked up to the stars. Maybe someday, he thought. When I know what it is I want.
All fighters are pig-headed some way or another: some part of them always thinks they know better than you about something. Truth is: even if they're wrong, even if that one thing is going to be the ruin of them, if you can beat that last bad out of them... they ain't fighters at all.
---Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris (Million Dollar Baby)
Last edited by Hes; August 28th, 2012 at 9:31 am.
Reason: Link removed