Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Safari in the Mist - Part 16

"There are nine of us here." Kobo waved his free hand toward his warriors.

"A few new ones, I notice. Nice looking fellow there, for instance. A bit short." BA pointed toward one warrior, younger than the rest and a few inches shorter than Kobo.

Vic spoke up. "He looks a bit like you, Kobo."

"My eldest son, Nolo, of whom I am very proud. He is not only a warrior, he is a great scholar and speaks many languages. His English is much better than mine." Kobo puffed out his chest. "I am the best among the city, except for him."

Vic smiled at the young man. "Let me be perfectly clear. We don't want to fight you. We simply, at this point, desire to leave your city. If we write about it, the stories will be fiction, so you face no danger from us."

Kobo frowned at the two shorter men. "This I would be happy to do, Vic von Crapp. The Council of Elders desires that you must die, and I must do as they say, as must my warriors."

BA grinned at him. "Too bad. I don't want to kill any of you, especially your boy there." He pointed at the six foot tall young man, who looked shaken.

Vic rolled his eyes. "Please, BA. Don't kill them." He looked at Kobo. "Please don't make us do this. You're entirely unprepared for this fight."

Kobo started to speak and BA interrupted him. Looking at Kobo's son, BA growled. "Look, kid. Let me give you a free lesson in fighting." He gestured at the giant warriors and their spears. "The spears are great for some types of fighting, but not for just two guys. They're too large and there are too many of you." He looked at the young man. "You getting this, Nolo?"

Nolo nodded, a nervous look on his face. "I hear you well, BA von Crapp."

BA nodded. "Good. Then pay attention… That man grips his spear too tightly." BA pointed to the warrior on the left side of the group. "Now if I were going to kill you all, I would start with him and twist the spear from his hand. I might break his thumb, but it wouldn't matter, because I'd swing the spear in an arc and crush his head with the shaft while I cut the throat of the man next to him using the point." Nolo looked at the men, puzzled. Kobo started to signal his men to change their positions. BA sighed. "It takes too long to explain…"

BA charged the man he pointed at, yanking the spear from his hand. The man yelled as his thumb gave way and the other men started to bring their spears down and point them at BA. BA twirled the spear above his head, hitting the first man in the back of the head and slamming the shaft into the forehead of the second man. They both started to drop, unconscious.

BA swept the spear downward, knocking the feet of the third man out from under him. BA continued to twirl the spear and hit the fourth man behind the head, then reversed the spear and hit the falling man between the eyes.

BA moved back to where he stood before, the spear held lightly in his right hand, the shaft touching the dirt. The two warriors on the left were both unconscious. Vic von Crapp stood next to BA, twirling a spear in a rapid pattern in front of himself.

"Quit showing off," BA growled to Vic.

Vic leveled the spear point at Kobo, whose face registered surprise.

BA smiled at Nolo. "That's what I was trying to explain." He shrugged. "Of course, it's harder not to kill them, but…" he looked at Vic. "I've had practice." He motioned to the two fallen men on the left. "Oh, and never take your eye off an enemy. You watched me the entire time while Vic took those two down."

Nolo stood like a statue, staring at the von Crapp brothers. "I understand the lesson, BA von Crapp. I now question whether I will be allowed to use this knowledge in my future."

Next part, next Wednesday.

Author commentary (if I have one)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Safari in the Mist - Part 15

They walked in silence following the upward slope of the narrow path in the depths of the mountain. The small lights provided the only illumination.

"In the book the tunnel was blocked by the ice and snow of the eternal glacier at the top of the mountain." Vic said as they walked.

"We'll figure a way out. We always do." BA was walking in front of his brother. "I think I see something up ahead."

When they turned out their lights they saw a dim glow far ahead of them. As they walked the light brightened until, finally, they stood before a sheet of ice the size of a door, sunlight shining through it.

"I guess we found it." Vic started patting the pockets of his vest. "I'm not sure what I have to get through this…"

BA still had the dagger from the tunnel tucked in his belt. He pulled it out and jabbed it into the icy doorway, which cracked from top to bottom. "Never mind, brother. I think I have an ice pick that will work." Chipping at the icy block BA scooped some cubes of ice into his left hand. "Hey, can I have one of the cups? Ice water sounds pretty good to me." He handed the cubes to Vic and continued to chip at the doorway, which suddenly shattered and fell to the ground, leaving a large, ragged hole exiting onto the mountain glacier.

BA grinned. "That was much easier than I thought." He took the cup of ice water from Vic, who also held one and stepped through the opening onto the mountaintop. Vic followed, drinking his water.
They both stared.

"Finally. We thought you'd never get out here. Or perhaps the white crocodile would get you." Kobo stood up and hefted his spear, smiling at the two brothers. He and eight men surrounded a small fire, obviously awaiting their arrival.

BA grinned. "Really? Well, your crocodile god is dead, I'm not too sorry to tell you." He pulled a small bag from his pocket and rattled it. "Here's his teeth if you're interested." The pungent odor from the bag made him quickly put it away. "They need cleaning."

Kobo laughed. "Oh, he wasn't a god. One of the boys dropped him in the sewers when he was little. We don't allow crocodile pets in the city, you see. He grew to tremendous size and started stealing the small goats. We were worried about our children, so we drop a cow down there a few times a month." He grinned. "You did us a huge favor, actually. Thank you." He suddenly looked grim. "I am very sorry that I must kill you."

"As if you can." BA snarled, shifting his weight. Vic said nothing, but collapsed his cup and BA's and put them back into his inside vest pocket.

Next part, next Wednesday.

Author commentary (if I have one)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Safari in the Mist - Part 14

The giant crocodile tried to knock BA down swinging its huge snout toward his legs. A guttural snarl erupting from its throat. BA jumped over the white creature's head, landing heavily onto the back of the crocodile with his knees, roaring. BA slammed both his fists into the middle of the crocodile's back, the sound of breaking bones cracking loudly across the small cavern.

The crocodile hissed, swerving sharply to its left and heading back into the water. BA slipped, stumbling off the crocodile onto the stone near the water's edge. The crocodile's powerful white tail swung toward him.

"NO!" Vic grabbed BA by the collar and pulled him clear, then rolled toward the knife and scooped it up as the crocodile moved deeper into the water, swimming toward the light of the outdoor pool.

"BA!" Vic tossed the long knife to his red-haired brother and ran to a corner of the cave, tearing a thick bone from one of the rotted corpses, the bone shattering on both ends as he pulled it loose. BA snatched the knife out of the air and ran to the edge of the water, quickly wading into the pool and diving toward the disappearing reptile. Vic dove in close behind him, the sharp white bone held in his hand.

In the water the white monster was in its element, an ancient leviathan of destruction. It turned back toward the von Crapp brothers, yellow eyes sparkling. In the crystal clear water visibility was perfect, for both the beast and the brothers. Vic von Crapp later swore that he saw the creature smile in anticipation of its juicy meals.

Vic von Crapp was trained to fight, born a warrior and not easy prey. But BA von Crapp was more than that; he was born a force of nature.

The jaws of the white monster opened and it turned to grasp BA by the waist, intending to drag him to the bottom of the pool and drown him. BA grinned at the beast as they moved closer together. For the first time in its decades of existence the crocodile felt fear.

BA twisted and reached forward with his massive arms. With his right hand he grabbed the crocodile's snout and twisted, the sound of tearing muscles and tendons vibrating through the water. BA's left hand, holding the dagger, thrust deep into the crocodile's open mouth and he drove the dagger to the hilt into the soft tissues of its upper palate, far behind the tongue, targeting the brain.

The behemoth had a small brain, however, and didn't know immediately that it was dead. It tried to twist and free itself from the vise that held its upper jaw as the light dimmed in its eyes. Suddenly one of the yellow eyes exploded into a mass of blood and gore, the sharpened end of a white bone sticking from it. The other eye closed and the beast struggled no more.

BA and Vic dragged themselves out of the water, BA towing the corpse of the white crocodile behind him. "Well," he gasped, grinning broadly, "that was fun." He laughed and slapped his brother on the shoulder. "I mean, really fun!"

Vic grinned back. "Yes, I knew you'd like that. Now why don't we head out of here."

"Give me a minute, Vic. There's something I want to do first."

Next part, next Wednesday.

Author commentary (if I have one)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Safari in the Mist - Part 13

The dank smell of fetid water and decaying flesh assailed their noses from the slight breeze coming from the passageway. It no longer sloped downward, but stretched forward into darkness, a single point of faint light in the distance.

"Well, I'm guessing this leads to the new 'god' they must have." BA wrinkled his nose. "I can kill that, can't I?"

Vic slipped his left hand into the lining of his vest and pulled out two pieces of linen. Soaking them both in water he gave one to BA and tied the other over his face, covering his nose and mouth. "You can kill any gods we run across, with prejudice." Vic grinned, the corners of his eyes crinkling. "And even though you won't need help, I'd be delighted to assist you."

The two brothers turned off their lights and five minutes of stealthy travel brought them to a murky pool and the source of the rancid odors. A large crocodile, easily fifteen feet long, lay dozing at the edge of a pool, which glowed with light coming from a slight opening below the surface of the water. The crocodile's eyes were closed, and its chest moved up and down evenly. The crocodile was pure white, from its nose to the end of its tail. It lay in the shallow end of the water, small ripples splashing quietly against the scales. Various decaying bodies littered the small cavern floor.

"I thought we had to go through the rooms in the book and drop through the hole in the floor of the jail cell," whispered Vic.

"Guess we bypassed that," BA whispered back, as his eyes scanned the ground near the crocodile. "You notice anything odd about all those corpses?"

Vic looked silently for a moment. "Yeah, they all look like cattle. Not a human in sight." He looked at the many bones. "Some of the bones are a good size though."

BA nodded, then touched Vic's arm, pointing near the edge of the water, on the other side of the massive beast. "There's a knife by the water. I think I can get to it. It's better than the pieces of bone lying around." He kept his voice low so that only Vic could hear him.

Vic nodded, dimly visible in the low light. "I see it. That light from the water is coming from outside. If I were a betting man..."

"You are," whispered BA, grinning.

Vic shook his head, also grinning. "... right. If I were a betting man, I'd say that light is from the pool where they make the sacrifices."

"So a way out?"

Vic made a low noise in his throat. "Yes, back through the village, but that's not an option. We're in the god's cave, so if we go through that uphill passage to the left we should get out on the glacier ledge."

BA nodded. "Right. And from the ledge, over the chasm and back to the plane."

"First things first. I think we need to get rid of the god."

BA grinned broadly. "Finally, something to make this adventure worth the time." Reaching into his pants pockets he drew out his fingerless leather gloves and slipped them on.

BA slipped past his brother and moved toward the knife, crossing the bone-strewn cavern floor as silently as a shadow. As he stepped in front of the great beast, he stopped, frozen in his tracks.

Two giant yellow orbs stared at him unblinking. Almost casually the large reptile opened its massive jaws. Its breath smelled like rotting meat and BA was glad for the covering over his nose and mouth as the beast rumbled deep in its chest. It moved toward BA, its feet scrabbling on the rocks making loud clicking sounds.

"Well … crap," said BA von Crapp.

Next part, next Wednesday.

Author commentary (if I have one)