From Dirt

Back again for another story. This is the story of a warrior who fails. It’s more a fantasy story than anything else. No explicit use of magic here. There’s some mysticism and implications that more is happening than is mentioned though. The idea for this one, not that I often give details about such, came from re-watching some Star Wars stuff along with a bit of Ghosts Of Tsushima. But that’s enough from me. Let’s get to the story!

Narus raises his longsword just in the nick of time to block the incoming swing of his adversaries much longer claymore. The blades chime as they impact but because the leader of the Veserhen has leaned in as he unleashed the swipe their blades lock. It’s like the man named Scarius with his brown skin flecked with grey was anticipating the exact response that Narus has given. It’s shocking, but Narus cannot risk letting his guard down now. If he does, Scarius with his longer reach will undoubtedly throw in a strike that might carve deep into Narus’ thin armour. It’s the colour of night but will offer little protection against the mighty blade gripped tightly in the warlords giant hands.

Scarius is much larger than Narus’ own two metres and with the larger weapon in his hands to boot it makes the villains reach unmatchable and exceedingly difficult to combat. Narus could indeed try but if he does he could very easily be opening himself up to suffering a much graver wound than the one he might inflict.

Narus doesn’t understand how it is possible that Scarius is able to react as rapidly as he does. The man should be lumbering and slow because of his size, the weight of his weapon and the heavy plates that cover his broad chest, but he isn’t.

With their swords locked at differing angles, Scarius leans in teeth bared and spits with the sort of depraved tone that only a monster could posses, “What came from dirt cannot be beaten. You lack dedication.”

Immediately Narus feels the brunt of the affront Scarius has cast out into the open air. Somehow it seems to chill the space around him. Narus knows the sudden change is not a literal one but it stings like the coldest of winter days would if he stepped out of his abode without proper wrappings. That is why the bluish pink skinned man with orange eyes and a shaved head cannot resist roaring back, “I will make you pay for what you’ve done to Berethenian.”

Narus’ voice is sure as he ignores the verbal jab made by Scarius, but his words have little effect. And is proven only seconds later when Scarius, the turquoise eyed man with twin dark green Mohawks across his scalp, cackles and then without warning breaks the lock between their swords.

The sudden change puts Narus off-balance. It was not something he had at all been expecting but knows that he should have. Yet, he is unsure how Scarius managed to force the blades into a lock in the first place. Neither combatant’s weapon is serrated. That alone should mean that such a thing should not, at least in his mind, be possible. But it happened so cannot be argued.

Though before Narus can regain his balance Scarius delivers a gauntled and balled up giant fist to the centre of Narus’ slender face. The force of the impact is like nothing Narus has ever felt before in his life and that is coming from a man who has found himself in many fights, scuffles and skirmishes during his life. Some were for training purposes but many others not.

The pain Narus can feel rippling through every millimetre of his perfectly hued skin is unbearable. Though, somehow his nose, as narrow and close to his face as it is does not detonate under the force. It makes no sense to Narus as he staggers away. The vision from his orange eyes entirely out of focus and to the point that he cannot see anything other than coloured blurs. All of he can is hope he is correctly assuming what those smears of colour are. If he doesn’t then he won’t manage to stay on his feet, upright and in this fight for much longer. Especially when the Veserhen’s leader casts his sword in a wide horizontal arc that Narus manages to correctly discern. His only clues being the incredibly thin but also brilliantly shiny surface of the weapons blade as it reflects daylight off it during its slash aimed expertly at his head.

Still, the precise seconds it takes Narus to discern that this is the blade slicing towards him leaves him only the briefest of moments to throw himself into a backward leap to avoid what would have been an otherwise fatal strike.

Even if his eyes, which are rapidly returning to something approaching normality, had not been a haze of blurriness, Narus is sure he would not have been capable of blocking and deflecting the blow that Scarius had cast his way. However, such concerns have already past and so to keep himself in the moment of the battle near the edge of a cliff in the town of Berethenian; Narus allows such thoughts to depart him like waves breaking over the shore.

Unfortunately, Scarius having seen that his target is on the back foot grins cruelly and then pushes forward. The warlord of the Veserhen sees no reason to permit his enemy the opportunity to regain a foothold and drag out this clash any longer than is necessary. After all, it is nothing more than luck that has allowed the Ikatanuan tribesman armed with a longsword and seldom any armour to survive this long. Any other fighter would have long since succumbed to the mighty claymore blade Scarius has in his hands, which is why the warlord lets out low, rumbling growls at random intervals. It’s a sign of frustration from the leader of the Veserhen, but in no way will afflict his superiority or victory. It is assured. He knows it. If he didn’t then he would not have made it this far in his life. After all, Scarius had been born without kin and then left to die out in the desolate wastes as though he was some sickly Ikatanuan or Felinrendu. It was not a fate that he deserved, but it was one that had shaped him into what he is today. Without it he would be weak like all the other tribesmen and he finds such things abhorrent. That is why he has vowed to wash them away. Their days are few, their time up. They will know it but they will not survive to see the change. Any who refutes the reality of this changing world does not deserve the honour to stand and gaze upon the advent of progress. That is what he is bringing forth and whatever the tribes might slander him with is of no concern. Their history will be expunged and replaced with the tales of the past that is yet to be written.

With that Scarius charges, not recklessly like so many of his enemies have before him but in a controlled and calm manner. Emotion does not rule the warlord when he fights. He leaves such afflictions to his enemies. For he fights with a purpose as well as with one eye firmly on the future that will soon come racing across this world. That is why as he advances, Scarius unleashes blow after blow after blow upon the foolish and soon to be dead Ikatanuan tribesman that has dared face him.

The warlord had given the Ikatanuan, like all the other tribes before him, the chance to surrender their dying past and accept the coming rays of the future. But they had refused and so for that they have to suffer. Scarius takes no pride in it. It is just what he was born to do. The Evergods have told him so.

Narus somehow manages to block blow after blow from his enemy but as he does so he is forced into a retreat. Such things are not the Ikatanuan way but Narus has little choice and so the bluish pink skinned two metre tall man continues to take a step back until finally a sensation washes over him that he cannot discard. It is at that moment that Narus dares to glance over his shoulder to find that the feeling was a subconscious proximity alert to draw his attention to the fact that he is almost out of land to stand upon. The realisation is shocking to the Ikatanuan who cannot stop his eyes from going wide in surprise just as Scarius, the warlord, throws another swipe of his far reaching claymore the Ikatanuan’s way.

Narus has to act fast and seeing little option, now that the ground beneath his feet is almost spent, ducks under the swipe and then pushing off the ground with the front of his four toed feet, throws himself into a forward roll.

Narus tucks all his limbs in as far as he can achieve in hopes of not losing one or more to an almost certain shift from his enemy. But Scarius does not change his attack. Instead, the Veserhen leader allows his failed swing to complete, while Narus, having completed the roll, springs back to his feet only to spin about and then slice at the man he hates more than any other being he has ever come across in all his days of life.

In some ways Narus is sure the swipe will miss. Such things would be appropriate for his current level of success, but he is wrong. His sword slashes at Scarius’ left flank and the mighty two and half metre tall barbarian of a man roars angrily in response even as he spins about. His huge claymore sword whirling round to keep Narus from jumping deep into the fray and attempting more strikes before the men are face-to-face once more. It works but has afforded Narus the opportunity to ready himself. The Ikatanuan had at no point intended to leap close to his opposite. Such things, he had concluded, would have resulted in almost certain disaster and in no way would have been as beneficial as the chance to return to being able to mount a strong defence, which is what Narus has actually done with those precious moments.

Still, it changes nothing from Scarius’ end as the warlord snarls and then leaps forward unleashing a war cry as he goes. Narus apparently unafraid of the towering brute flying toward him holds his ground. He is confident that his positioning will afford him an advantage against the seemingly reckless berserker tactic of the much larger Veserhen who is swinging his sword. However, and much to Narus’ surprise, Scarius changes the direction of his attack once he is too close. The change comes as the warlord drops his blade and instead shifts, mid-lunge, into an upward swing that if it connects will slice Narus from groin to jaw.

Narus’ eyes go wide. It was the very last thing he could have expected. And he would chastise himself for this failure if he did not need to react to have any hope of blocking and countering. But Scarius is so close that Narus can only manage to just about block the attack and avoid death by recoiling as he does. Though, the Ikatanuan does attempt to shift his body weight in the hopes of striking back. Unfortunately, his insistence on sticking to an already ruined plan only results in yet another incoming gauntleted fist, which blindsides the Ikatanuan.

Scarius grins cruelly as his balled up fist slams into his enemies jaw with a bone-shuddering crunch that sees the smaller man spin away uncontrollably.

Again, Narus’ vision is a blur. Sadly that is not the tribesman’s only affliction as his head is also spinning as well. Its further insult to add to the injury he has thus far sustained and yet the Ikatanuan doesn’t believe what he has sustained will afflict him for more than a few minutes. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that Narus is forced to swiftly regain his balance if he hopes to continue the fight. However, before he can, Scarius is on him laughing manically as he unleashes a kick to the back of the Ikatanuan warriors’ legs.

Narus collapses to his knees with a screech of pain, though he does manage to spin his sword a hundred and eighty degrees and then drive the tip of the razor-edged weapon backward toward Scarius.

A second later Narus feels the sudden resistance as his sword thrusts deep into Scarius’ thigh. The beast of a man roars a third of a second after before two seconds later bringing the blade of his own mighty weapon down onto the one now jutting from his leg. The response is instantaneous as Narus’ sword shatters in two. Narus feels the sudden given and can scarcely believe it in the moments before Scarius pulls his blade back up at a slight angle inclined toward Narus’ back that catches the remains of the weapon in the Ikatanuan’s hand, only for it to be wrenched free and sent spinning and skipping away with a symphony of tiny chinking sounds once it finally meets ground.

To the Ikatanuan’s surprise however the fatal blow does not come right after. Instead, Narus manages to skitter away and then scramble to a squatting defensive stance that sees his fists raised as though they will serve as suitable replacements now that he is without a sword.

The sight is insanity and why Scarius erupts into a cackle right after that then evolves into the warlord informing Narus, “You cannot hope to best me without a weapon. You should just surrender while you still have a beating heart.”

If Narus did feel inclined to do as Scarius says that does not mean that the Ikatanuan would be permitted to live. It just means that Scarius would ensure that he would be the last of his tribe to die. And before such a death, as agonising as it would be, Scarius would force Narus to watch. The most effective way to do that is to remove eyelids and limbs. It’s difficult for your enemies to fight back if they have no appendages with which to try such things. And without eyelids they have no choice but to gaze upon the justice that is being delivered to their kin. At least that is how the warlord sees it.

“I would never surrender to a man like you!” Narus screams defiantly.

“As you wish.” Scarius says with a shrug that conveys how little he cares just seconds before he throws himself at the Ikatanuan warrior again.

Narus, for a second time, holds his ground waiting for the impending attack, but this time he has a plan. He will not simply react but attempt to grab a hold of Scarius’ sword and wrench it from the beast of a man’s grasp. Narus knows that his enemy is larger and stronger, but the warlord will not be expecting such an attempt and that few seconds of shock and disbelief might, Narus hopes, afford him enough of an element of surprise that he could be successful.

Sadly, Scarius is no fool and while he cannot be sure what the Ikatanuan before him has planned he is sure that there is a plot of some form. That is why instead of finishing his swipe on Narus the hulking brute, at the last possible moment, stops to deliver a kick instead.

The heavy armoured boot slams into the lower section of Narus’ chest full-force, cracking and breaking countless ribs. But if that were the only outcome of the kick Narus might count himself lucky. However it isn’t and Narus is torn off his feet only to be sent flying across the makeshift arena of a battleground atop the cliff.

The Ikatanuan doesn’t stay in the air long and soon slams hard to the solid dirt and stone, only to roll several times until finally coming to a stop.

As the tribesman stirs he finds that he is right at the edge of the cliff. A surge of energy flushes through him demanding that he get to his feet, now. He attempts to but manages barely any progress before Scarius collapses upon his position. Immediately the warlord drives the point of his heavy sword into Narus’ back and out through the tribesman’s’ abdomen.

Narus bellows in pain less than a second later, while Scarius laughs and then whispers, “Death will come to all Ikatanuan. Now their last warrior has fallen.”

Narus pauses as he considers why Scarius is calling Narus the last Ikatanuan warrior. He doesn’t have a clue and after what feels like years Narus casts the thought aside refusing to believe it. But in truth barely two seconds have passed since the words were muttered into his ear.

However, as Narus goes to speak, to say how he doesn’t believe Scarius’ lies, the warlord rips his sword from Narus and spins the Ikatanuan about so he can look him dead in the eye for what will be the final time.

Narus sneers at the sight of the ugly, brown skinned man with grey flecks, turquoise eyes and crooked nose who offers, “The way of the tribes is dead. And I, Scarius, will forge a new path. One focused on strength and brutality. For that is what this world needs.”

The tribesman goes to speak. He is intent on refuting the claims of this clearly deranged monster of a man mountain, but before he gets the chance Scarius delivers one final kick to Narus’ chest.

For the second time Narus feels an enormous almost overwhelming burst of pain from his ribs. He hasn’t heard any of them creak or snap this time, not that it matters as he sails through the air backward right off the edge of the cliff and to his doom.

Scarius meanwhile stands at the cliffs edge, laughing uncontrollably, as he watches Narus’ body plummet through the air toward the rocks and dirt below.

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