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Behold, A Tribal God; Short Story - DNR
Topic Started: Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:46 am (210 Views)
The Faunamancer
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The tribesmen beat the booming devils from their drums behind the sitting stumps where the victorious preferred to taste their demons by the drop, undulating fire-whiskey tumbling down scratchy old gorges. It was the tribal way. Winners quenched the thirst of their tongues with the drink, watchers the thirst of their eyes with blood.

The spectators roared, lapped up every last drop of Maogar the Terrible's butchered broth. It was the same story for every pit fighter forced into a fight with Hoplan the Strong, namesake strength on full display. Hoplan took his hammer to Maogar's wrist, forced the crowd to drown out his victim's weak pleas. It was never necessary to kill one's opponent, though the tribe lacked the necessary medical knowledge to repair anyone so mangled as Maogar. Hoplan took a knee before his opponent, patted him on the shoulder, and said some encouraging words none living would ever hear. With an overhead arc of the hammer, Hoplan's victim was undone, misted the most coveted crimson liquor.

He turned up the heaviest jug and gulped its contents down until there was nothing left, then slammed it down to back pats and applause. This was but the least of his victory prizes; the greatest was to be taken. She did not struggle, nor did she weep. After all, he said, it was an honor to be a prize among so many choices. She nodded. Her time would come. She stayed strong in the coming months, even as she swelled with new life. The Marines that came did not come for her; they came for a noble daughter. All the women were liberated. Many tribesmen were undone, though many more fled.

She died giving birth to a boy called Boris. He was sent to live with the scholars, one of the fourteen "brothers" from the least civil of places raised under the tutelage of Cascadia's most brilliant minds. They passed along their knowledge in their areas of focus, primarily describing the Fragmentation and what it meant for the world. They painted a grim picture of the future of the world and instilled in Boris a guiding principle: There was going to come a day when the Era of First Contact would end and a new phase of the historical would commence, though still without the guidance of the gods of days pre-fragment--something would need to be done to instill order.

Boris excelled in his religious studies and was among the few that had a proclivity for spellcasting gifts. He was strong, intelligent, and generally the model of the perfect boy. Word got around. He was stolen in the dead of night, scholars and brothers slaughtered before his eyes, and taken to the Istan Desert to reunite with a father he never knew or loved. They forced a sword into his hands and told him to train. He was no swordsman. The tribe saw no potential, recognizing his inner conflict between the life he loved and the life he was given. Hoplan berated him and charged him with hunting. Boris was a natural at racing camels then pulling them to the ground by the hind leg. did not possess his father's skill with weapons, but he could match his strength. The tribe thrived, and soon leadership passed to Hoplan. However, Boris remained bitter.

The tribe began to branch out and conquer other tribes, seizing their resources from the back of their armored camels. Boris continued to seize the camels, sometimes for food and sometimes for husbandry. He could pick them clear off the ground and sling them around onto his back, then haul them along for miles. The camel population was dying off, from both natural causes and from Boris' own intervention in their ecosystem.

Boris dreaded the days to come. In his head, conflict swirled. The people that showed him love and support were slaughtered by the strong who had nature's claim to him. Did he trust the natural order of the universe? Was this a fluke of fates? Indifference? What was his role in this? Where could he turn? His greatest regret was how inconsequential he had become; he had trajectory, but these savages reduced him to nothing. How could this be his blood? How could this be his destiny?

No, he said, this is not the path I walk, gods willing.

Perhaps gods, or a poetic twist of fate, the tribe intercepted a group of scholars on their way to an important Istani settlement. The tribe had begun to resort to cannibalism to fit protein into their diets. They took the scholars hostage with plans of eating them.

The scholars were bound and led into the pit where Hoplan had killed many a pit fighter in his prime. Hoplan looked down on them from the back of the biggest and most well-adorned camel in the tribe. The devil drums rumbled as the fires roared to life. The tribe licked their lips in anticipation, sipping down their fire-whiskey and thirsting with their eyes. Hoplan addressed the tribe.

Then, Boris grabbed Hoplan's camel by the hind legs, tore it out from under, and beat his father to death with it.

He was the rightful head of the tribe. He called off the execution, demanded the scholars be set free, and told the tribe what was to be. Calamity was coming, and the tribe was unprepared. They had resorted to eating humans because there was no longer a place in the hierarchy of nature that they belonged. The world was changing, and the course history was taking would have no place for a weak tribe.

Boris commanded the tribe to cut their own throats, starting with the weakest and ending with the most powerful. One by one, the tribesmen took their own lives until only their leader remained. Boris dragged the bodies into the fire and walked away, a lone survivor who understood what he had to do.

Calamity was coming, and the world needed to turn back the clock. The world needed to return to a time when there was purpose, when people did not question everything they knew, when they could make sense of the universe.

Calamity was coming, and the world needed Boris to be willing to save it. And a willing god he would be.
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