Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Othar in the Lands of the Savages

(Note: Othar Trygvasson is a creation of the inestimable Foglios; this story is but a tribute. That said: Ho! Onwards, to ADVENTURE!)

Othar squirmed in his bonds. He was tied to a gigantic tree, three times his girth, and was roasting slowly over a bonfire while his captors hooted and capered all around him. "This is a bit of a squeeze," he complained to himself. "But it's just another day's work, for..."

Othar thought quickly. This was far from the trickiest situation he'd found himself in, but it could cause some trouble if not corrected quickly. Even now, he could feel his bare chest heating as the flames played over them.

I've got a pocket-knife in my left knee pocket, if I can just get to it... Othar squirmed. Success! But these ropes are far too thick for me to cut through them before I'm cooked. Othar squirmed further, moving the knife into position; he winced as one of his captors took the opportunity to jump closer and poke him with a crude spear, drawing blood. Ignoring the pain, he sliced open a cunningly concealed inner pocket of his leggings, shattering the glass vial inside. The contents poured out onto the rope, racing along it and consuming it with a loud sizzling noise.
Smirking, Othar thought, This is exactly the reason I keep rope-dissolving acid on my person at all times. The six times that it's gotten broken in a brawl and dissolved my pants were embarrassing, but just another of the hazards of adventuring.

The sizzling stopped.

Oh, right. The fire.

As Othar, no longer suspended by his bonds, plunged into the fire, he reached upwards with a tremendous effort, managing to secure a handhold. As his legs quickly roasted (with associated popping and hissing noises from the many valuable items he kept there), Othar clawed his way upward, pulling himself onto the toppled tree by main force.

His captors had stopped dancing. Now they were circling around him ominously. As Othar stopped to take a much-needed breather, they began to climb onto the tree from both ends. The forest was deadly quiet: above the sound of the bonfire below, the only thing that could be heard was the whirring of Othar's captors' gears.

Their savage fury took me by surprise before, but they won't have so easy a fight of it this time, Othar resolved, breaking a large branch off the tree. Impetuously, he charged one of the savage robots, swinging viciously with his improvised club.

It broke.

Hmm, it seems that wooden weapons are useless against these archaic automatons' moss-moldered mechanisms. I'll have to try another approach. Othar backed off from the robots he'd attacked, buying himself time while he retrieved various items from his pockets. High-explosive rockets: burnt. Pocket raygun: slagged. Deluxe Bavarian chocolate: melted! Oh, they'll pay for this. At last, Othar triumphantly presented the object of his search: a tiny action figure. "Behold, mishapped monsters!" he cried out as the robots silently approached. "A perfect mechanical replica of myself, at 1:20 scale! Behold its beauty and worship it as a god!"

The robots stopped. They craned their heads to look at the Othar replica as Othar diligently operated the tiny crank on its side.

Slowly, the replica's head rose. It opened its mouth. Then, with an outwash of black smoke, it collapsed, shattering into its constituent parts and falling into the fire below, leaving Othar holding only crank and feet.

Well, that was a wash. Time to go back to basics. Whipping out a clockwork handgun, Othar opened fire, blowing half a dozen robots into the fire below. Cowed, they retreated, howling their defeat to the night air.

This is just another sad example of the reason I took up my sacred cause, Othar mused as he hopped off the tree, robots clearing away from him as he landed. It's bad enough that the Sparks have left Europe's cities in ruins, with their constant wars and mad inventions. But even the forests are polluted by their vile creations. There's nowhere a man can go to get a little peace and quiet anymore! I've never felt better about killing every one of them and ridding the earth of their scourge.

Oh, and then killing myself, to finish the job. Seems a shame, but that's how it goes.

A shadow fell across Othar's vision, awakening him from his brief introspection. He looked up. And up. And up.

Right, of course the robots-gone-native would worship a gigantic clank, calling it with their howls so that it could squish me with one gigantic foot. Obvious, really. Should have expected it. Whoops.


The clank's foot came down with a thunderous crash. Othar leapt away, landing on the fringes of the circle formed by the wild robots. They had begun to hoot and howl again, waving their spears in the air. The nearest ones pushed at Othar with their spears, urging him back towards the super-clank.

Othar was undaunted. Recklessly, he charged the clank, leaping up and scrabbling onto the sides. If I can just get to the control unit, I can shut it down with no trouble, and then this whole silly thing will be over. Just have to climb up to the head - ow! Spikes!

Okay, so I'll take the long way around, climbing along the side to get to its back - uch! Poison vents!

So that was a botch. All right, I'll climb downwards, tunneling into its belly to reach the head from the inside. What could possibly go wrong?

Augh! Electrostatic field emitters coupled with autodeploying defense turrets!

You'd almost think that whatever Spark built this thing didn't want it destroyed.

Othar paused to think. Hanging from one hand on the gigantic clank, he was bleeding in several (new) places, and the turrets were still trying to crane around the side to fire at him. (So far, with little success.) So I can't get to the head from the bottom, the side, or the top... wait! That's it!

Quickly, Othar reached into his pocket, scooping out the Bavarian chocolate melted by the fire. He gave it a remorseful look, then began tossing it onto the top of the clank, crawling along behind where he threw. Beneath him, spikes began to pop out, but were locked in place by the chocolate, rendered completely harmless.

At last, Othar reached the head of the clank. The control apparatus, clearly marked as such, was locked in place beneath a thick plate, itself secured by three different locks. The locks - Othar squinted to be sure that he was reading them right - required the opener to solve complex logical puzzles to open them. A tiny sign on each read, Failure will activate lethal booby-traps - stay off! Othar mused.

I've never been very good at puzzles, he admitted to himself. Then he ripped off one of the front-mounted autoguns and beat the locks to pieces with them.

The clank settled to its knees with a mechanical sigh, steam hissing from around the edges. Othar gave it one last whack for good measure, then jumped down, walking away at a dignified, yet resolute pace. The savage robots gave way before him; some were already fleeing, casting down their spears. Behind him, the clank finally gave up the ghost and exploded spectacularly, spraying bits of clockwork everywhere and setting the last of the robots to flight.

Just another day's work, for...


King Kessler said...

I forgot to add Girl Genius to my webcomics app! Thanks for reminding me.

Also: I just read a tribute to something with which I'm unfamiliar? Normally I skip those.

Cavalcadeofcats said...


I have done well this day.

Good to hear!

(And by "this day," I mean "about a week ago.")