Friday, August 9, 2013

The Treasure of the Iron Range-06

Ken culled another zombie from The Necromancer’s uncounted horde of undead thralls, sneaking in under cover of darkness and ambushing a sentry lurching about its patrol of a dig site. After he dragged the lifeless corpse away, and then began consuming it, Ken also mulled over a plan. Ken knew that The Necromancer, whatever else that villain was, was not a fool; it was wise to presume that The Necromancer would be wary of Ken intervening.

Ken chewed on the flesh of his meal. Even now, The Necromancer’s presence—through his horde—felt palpable to him. That presence, if it focused itself upon Wendigo, would be more than he could handle. Somehow, Ken must separate his target from his enemy and keep them apart long enough to put Wendigo down for good. Then there was that ally of his enemy, the one whose very presence radiated power beyond mortal means, and yet did not seem so dissonant as his enemy.

What of this thing that allied itself to The Necromancer? Would he—it—intervene? If it did, what would it do and how would it do that? Why did it look like a young Christopher Walken from some Old World horror film? Ken tossed the now-meatless bone aside, and heard it hit something other than a tree, rock or dirt- and then felt that same eerie presence.

“You’re a curious monkey.”

Ken leapt to his feet. Out from the darkness he saw a man-like figure appear—approach—him.

“Would you prefer a more familiar form?”

The figure changed its shape, appearing as that now-dead actor, and now Ken remembered.

“Gabriel.” Ken said, “That is your name, isn’t it?”

“In your tongue, so that’s good enough.” Gabriel said.

Ken took in a deep breath, drawing in through his nose and exhaling through his mouth, flexing himself without thinking as if he prepared for a fight. He smelled stale incense barely masking a rot off of Gabriel.

“Your kind calls mine ‘angels’.” Gabriel said, “Yes, the monkey I look like mimicked me well, and I must say that inspiring your kind can be quite entertaining. The story, however, I made up.”

“You’re not here to chat over dinner.” Ken said.

“True.” Gabriel said, “I’m here because I caught your little trick the other day. The ‘see-through-another’s-eyes’ trick that you did I found very interesting. I had to know what new monkey came up with this stuff. I’ve been following you now for weeks.”

Ken gave Gabriel a disbelieving look.

“Time doesn’t work the same way for us as it does for you.”

“So,” Ken said as he assessed Gabriel’s body language, “if you’re watching me, then why talk to me now?”

“Because you’re about to do something rash and stupid, and—as much as I’d love to watch you do your monkey-thing and fail spectacularly—I have my orders.”

“Which are?”

“There’s more to what’s going on than you’ve figured out—that you could ever figure out—on your own.”

"Tell me."

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