Hunter - failed RiaR entry

This is a dark age, a bloody age, an age of daemons and of sorcery.

Hunter - failed RiaR entry

Postby YeOldeGrandma » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:17 pm

Didn't finish it in time. Reckoned I might as well post it.

Hunter

A blood red sun was rising, but it brought little warmth. Vargni’s entire body ached, muscles drawn taut to the point where they felt as though they’d snap. And he was cold, stiff with both hypothermia and physical fatigue. This night had taken its toll, sending him out into the next day a stumbling, shivering wreck, barely able to stand.

His left foot snagged against something and he fell forward, the pain of his sore knees as they crashed against the ground numbed by the thick throbbing in his skull. Kneeling, he swayed for a few moments before steadying himself. Red sunlight glared against the corner of his eye, stinging them mercilessly, and he turned away.

He couldn’t remember why he was here. It no longer made any sense. He couldn’t recall how long he’d been out here, alone, traversing a dead, frozen world; the only world he’d known for so long. But how long? This could not always have been his life.

Beneath the thick layers of pain that clogged his mind something stirred, a memory, or a kernel of it at least; a recollection of a mission, his purpose. He was a hunter, yes, that was it! He was hunting something here.

But what? What was he hunting? How could he be a hunter when he knew not what prey he was seeking? How could he uphold his purpose, his only purpose as far as he knew, when he was failing? The thoughts swirled within his pounding head, brutally barreling their way through his mind, sending fresh spikes of pain as they roared for his attention. He could not have traced them even if he had wanted to; he could not bring clarity in the maelstrom of duty and guilt within him. What was it that he was hunting? The question demanded an answer, craved it with utmost insistence, and his very being railed against the unthinkable fact that he could give none.

Vargni snapped his head up, his eyes darting across the desolate landscape as he desperately sought clues everywhere, anywhere. His gaze flittered towards the sky and immediately he winced as the morning sun burned his eyes. Shutting them did no good – his vision remained red-hot even through closed eyelids – and fresh agony seared from within his eyes

Vargni let out a roar that sent echoes rolling out across the moor. His being gave way, finally, to the turmoil, rage and self-hatred bubbling within him and he let himself slip completely into its fold. He moved, springing to his feet, angered at the way his stiff limbs popped and smarted, angered at the sunlight which continued to sting and stab, as if wilfully teasing him. He kicked out at something, let out another furious bellow and then spun around, froth dangling from his beard. Before he knew it he stood with his arms raised above his head, axe in hand.

“Curse it!” he screamed, smashing his weapon down against the ground. Sparks flew as its sharp edge glanced on rock. “Curse this world!” he snarled. “Curse it all!” Again steel crashed on stone, sending splinters up in his face. And again. Red sunlight flashed on metal as Vargni’s weapon went up and down, massacring his surroundings, his muscles working with a practised ease.

He found himself suddenly standing before a stunted tree, hacking furiously at its windblasted bark. “I curse it all!” he screamed as his axe embedded hard into the wood. With a snarl he tugged at it, pulled with all of the might that his burning arms could muster until the weapon came loose. Vargni let out a savage cry, feeling drips of spittle splash against his cheeks as he immediately swung his axe back against the tree; his entire body shook, jarred by the impact. Another swing and the tree began to sway, creaking and whining with agony. Vargni kept striking, splinters pattering against his naked skin. Then his weapon sheared through bone and came out clean on the other side. The thing howled in pain as one final splash of its lifeblood rained upon him; it fell away, crashed down upon the frozen ground. And Vargni remembered.

He had fought a creature, a monstrous, foul thing of the north, and not slain it. So he had pursued it; he knew not for how long, but the hunt had brought him here, to the point where his mind had failed him and he’d given in to madness, becoming little more than a beast himself. Vargni let his axe slip from his fingers as he fell to his knees. The sight of its edge, bent and broken after his useless rampage, brought him such shame.

Rain, snow and wind had reduced his once proud appearance, worn away any mark of what he’d pledged himself to be. Time had grown his hair long again and twisted it into an unrecognizable mess. The red sunlight caught a spot of orange dye, one of the few still visible within the folds of his tangled beard and Vargni let his eyes rest upon it as his hand buried deep within the thick hair on one side of his head. It had been clean shaven once.

He felt the weariness in his limbs, more profound now that his rage had been all spent. A coldness was already seeping into his bones. “No,” he whispered at last as bitter tears ran down his cheeks. “Curse it all, but curse me sevenfold, for I am slayer no more.”
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YeOldeGrandma
 
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