Monday, March 03, 2008

The Ancients

"Damn it!" Laramie cursed. He kicked his car. "First you give out, on a full tank of gas, while I'm driving on this damn back-country route. Then my cell phone gives out. What the hell?"

A creature appeared, floating in the air. Green, winged, hideous. A gremlin. It told Laramie, "Oh, you'll find that'll be happening a lot from now on."

Laramie stared. "What?" he asked, incredulous.

"We've gotten sick of the whole "modernity" business," it told Laramie. "Businesses, technology, people dying of a ripe old age... boring! So we decided to get rid of it. From now on, if anyone travels to a place they've not been to before, they'll be transported to a land of magic and enchantment - where anything more sophisticated than a wheel won't work, and where creatures of myth and legend are real."

"But that will destroy civilization!" Laramie cried out, aghast.

"Well, that is the point, really," the gremlin said, giggling. "Can't you think of any advantages?"

Laramie thought about it for a moment, then whirled his finger. A tiny fireball shot off it, detonating a hundred feet above. "Hmm," he said. "Perhaps I can, after all."

-

Koth darted back, swinging his mace. A skeleton collapsed into shattered ruin, and the others were knocked back long enough for Koth to escape the circle they'd formed around him. A half-minute's run, and he was there: in his sanctum, the place he'd been born, the only place he was safe from magic. Only one other person had been there - his wife, long ago, as part of their wedding ceremony. For now, he could take a breather, rest and heal before attacking the Dark One's minions once more.

Laramie appeared.

"What!?" cried Koth. "Who are you - how did you get here? This is my sanctum!"

Laramie looked about, contemptuously. "The old Westhall shopping centre? Pah. I can't be the only one of the old crew still walking who visited this place before the Enchantment struck. There aren't that many of us left, sure - it's been a damn hard forty years - but this ain't no fortress, kid."

Koth's face turned white. "Then... you're an Ancient," he whispered.

"Yep," Laramie agreed, walking toward Koth. "All of sixty-two, I am. And, more to the point, I'm the Ancient whose army you were just wreaking havoc in."

Koth scuttled backwards on hands and knees. He didn't even think of raising a weapon in his own defense. Frantically, he asked, "Why do you even need an army?"

Laramie stopped. "To deal with my contemporaries, of course," he told Koth. "Why, otherwise, they'd just walk right over me... ah." He began walking forward again. "Trying to distract me, buy time. Hell, I tried the same trick on my teachers when I was your age." Koth looked blank. "How old are you, boy?"

"Fif-fifteen," Koth gasped, at the edge of his sanctum. As Laramie reached out and scooped him up by the collar, Koth cried, "No! I have a wife - a daughter! Don't kill me!"

Laramie looked at him. "You know, I believe you," he said. Then he walked forward, carrying Koth out of his sanctum and into the midst of Koth's army. "But eternal life doesn't come cheap, and if I spared every fifteen-year-old with children, I'd be a husk before the week was out." Laramie's arm began to glow red, as Koth's life was sucked away.

Struggling, with the last of his strength, Koth gasped out, "Damn you! I hope you choke on me, and rot to death, you... monster!"

Laramie dropped Koth's corpse. He verily glowed - shining with the light of life he'd ripped away from Koth.

He coughed, but thought nothing of it.

1 comment:

King Kessler said...

That was probably one of the best things ever?