Friday, August 2, 2013

The Treasure of the Iron Range-05

Ken’s mind returned from the past. Still before him stood the water spirit, still shaped as a man, and still holding Ken’s head in its hands.

“I’ve known stories of other giants, from other places, in days like those.” Ken said, “This is one of that race?”

The spirit nodded. “Wendigo slumbers fitfully. Unable to exact its revenge as it wished, only now and again does it remind the world that it exists when a shade possesses a man.”

Nephilim.” Ken said, “The spawn of angels and women, forbidden by God.”

“Yes. That is the word from across the seas for that race.”

“And thus Wendigo is an old and powerful demon.”

Again, the spirit nodded. “We also know that word.”

Ken looked at the spirit before him with a discerning eye and a disdainful scowl.

“I find it interesting that this demon and I share so many salient qualities.” Ken said.

“Predators are more alike than different.” The spirit turned away and faded into the lake.

“I see.” Ken said, “Farewell.”

Ken walked away from the edge of the water and sat against a tree. Ken calmed his body, and then his mind. He slowed his breathing, making it steady in its pace and deep in its action—breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out—and once more banished the noisome distractions of the world. As his mind calmed, Ken reviewed what he knew: The Necromancer sought to unearth a long-dead ancient demon, one originally of a race spawned in a time before the Old World’s reckoning of Man’s past, slain before Civilization reached these shores, and banished shortly thereafter into a prison made of its own grave. It was an insatiable monster, craving manflesh without thought or sentiment, a beast with naught by animal cunning in its life. It was no less a monster in death, and being dead it fell into the reach of The Necromancer.

Ken recalled that he knew of many survivors, holding out as far as they can from what both Ken and his fellow survivors now called The Necropolis—the seat of The Necromancer’s power, where the dead are legion—and that these survivors now formed the core around which new communities now formed, communities that opposed The Necromancer. He recalled thwarting undead hunting squads, seeking survivors to slay and assimilate into the undead horde. Having a powerful demon, once more clad in flesh, dedicated to this task would be a risk that The Necromancer would be willing to take even if its hunger proved to turn against that villain should undead flesh serve well enough as food.

Ken remembered the powerful presence by The Necromancer when he examined the memories of the zombie thrall, and then saw that The Necromancer relied on this ally to be the safeguard against any threat of Wendigo turning against The Necromancer. If Wendigo could be brought to heel using this ally’s power, then it could be effectively used by The Necromancer. Wendigo must be destroyed.

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