Fan fiction:Bane Hero of the North/Chapter 2
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Bane Hero of the North is a fan fiction piece by Bane, originally posted on The Dark Library. The fiction series was recovered on April 14th 2010. You can find more information on Bane:Hero of the North article.
Chapter 2: An Underground World
Bane patted his pouch of coins that lay on his saddle pack. He had earned his money well he thought as he recalls the past few days events. He shakes his head as he recalls the awesome power of magic that held him frozen to the seat in the recruitment office and had killed the man called Kelmor. He also remembers the weapons he had used to great effect after his capture. He had almost got used to the chains.
After his escape from the town of Nath-San and when he filed his report on the night's actions Bane's employer had paid him well. The result was peace between the warring towns and with peace Konrad (The leader of the mercenary group to which Bane has employed himself in) had ordered his men to seek out other employment, sending Bane further south towards the next city of Galmnor. It has been two days since his departure from Kath-Amor.
Slowly stroking his horses flank Bane looked towards the path he must now take. It winds down from the hill he has come to rest upon into a forest in which he knows not its name. He then remounts on the great black steed and spurs it onwards under the canopy of leaves.
The forest is a wonder to Bane, nether in his whole life has he seen so many trees together. It is even more overwhelming than the sea of grass that covers the lowlands. Beams of light filter through the thick cover of leaves and great trees angle their branches at one another as if they hold hands.
Lost in thought Bane does not notice the huge club wielded by a beast hidden in the bush, and when it strikes only then does Bane wish he had paid more attention to his surroundings.
The club strikes Bane on the forehead and knocks him from his horse to the ground. It feels as if something has exploded within his head and it is a wonder that he lives at all. The blow would have crushed most men's skulls as if it were nothing more than a melon. He is on his feet quickly sword in hand but his mind is not as sharp as it usually is. The beast shows itself and Bane can hear its deep breathing and mocking laugh.
Bane's eyes widen for what he sees is not a man or animal, but a mixture of both. His opponent is an ogre and until this day Bane thought he would never see one. The creature is big, at least eight-feet tall and its torso the width of the great trees that find home here in the forest. Bane curses his luck.
"By Bul-Kathos!" The ogre does not understand the smaller creatures words fully and responds by slowly swinging its club. Bane however, had anticipated the attack and ducked beneath the slump of wood knowing full well that if the giant club had made contact he would no longer be breathing. His strong skull had staved off one attack but would no doubt cave in if struck again. Reacting the only way the young barbarian knows how, he strikes out at the beast's unprotected belly. It slices through the flesh well and Bane is surprised how easily the beast was hurt. The ogre roared out in pain, a roar that seems misplaced in the calm and peaceful forest.
With the misty colour of crimson blurring his vision Bane can feel the Battle-furry and strikes out again using his sword to penetrate the ogres body. Before to long the ogre falls back to the ground with a thud while Bane scrambles across its body hacking at the creatures thick log like neck. The ogre is long dead by the time Bane steps away from it, covered from head to toe in gore.
Bane kneels on the grass besides the ogre and wipes his broadsword across its surface. He looks about through great gasps of air for his horse but it is no-where to be seen. Bane spots a large black bird looking down at him from a branch on a tall tree on his right. The bird looks as if it mocks him.
Standing to his feet and sheathing his sword Bane stares at the bird, which holds his own gaze. Turning from it he begins his long walk through the forest, towards where he hopes the city of Galmnor lies and where no more beasts like the last one he just had to fight lie in ambush.
The chirping sound of birds rang out amongst the trees and had begun to annoy the barbarian. Never before had he witnessed such constant sounds not even in the mountains of his homeland. If Bane had one wish now it would be that all these damned birds did not exist or at the very least, stop the infernal racket.
He had hoped by this time he would have found his run away steed but it was nowhere to be seen and that meant it would take a few more days if he were to reach the city of Galmnor. There had been no further sign of trouble and Bane's own keen senses this time alert had not picked up even a worrying rustle in the bushes and trees that made up the scenery surrounding him.
His thoughts however stray from the birds as he hears a sound very much like feet running across the ground. The noise is soft and Bane looks to his left where he judges where the sound had sprung. He is shocked at his discovery but relieved that it is no beast he sees but a lithe form of a woman.
She watches him from behind a tree, long blond hair flowing like water over her face. Large blue eyes look at him and Bane can detect that there is fear and hope in them.
"Do not be afraid woman." Bane gestures to her in a friendly way, an awkward smile breaking across his face, stepping forward slowing and holding out his arm.
"What are you doing out here all alone?" The girl does not answer; instead she turns from him and breaks in to a run. Bane begins his own and calls out to her softly in the most reassuring manner he knows for surely this girl could not last long in this forest.
"Slow down woman!" He cries out desperately as he sees her slip behind a fallen tree and out of sight. Shaking his head Bane quickens his pace leaping over the tree that lies on the grass.
"Damn it girl where are you?" As if in answer to his question he spots the girl about twenty paces in front of him. The chase does not last long however until Bane sees the girl kneeling over a fallen man against a tree in a clearing. She turns to him with tears in her eyes that roll down her cheeks.
Bane walks towards the girl and kneels beside her. The man before him is fair of face but unconscious.
"He lives woman. What happened hear?" The girl appears jumpy Bane thinks as he watches her look over the injured man before her and at the trees themselves that surround the clearing.
"What is wrong woman?" Again to Bane's disappointment the girl does not speak but merely shrieks as forms rush out of the trees. The first thing Bane notices about them is the fact that they are not men, merely forms made to mock man appearing to be almost ape-like. They cry out there battle cries that send a chill down the young barbarians spine. Broadsword however had already leapt into his hand ready to greet the first beast to attack him and slices its throat. The creature drops in a lifeless heap before the maddened barbarian.
"Stay behind me girl." The girl nods but lays herself over the fallen body of the injured man.
"I do not know what you are creatures, but if you value your lives back away now!" His words seems to make the beasts stop, a hesitation that proves fatal for one of them as Bane cleaves through its collarbone with an expert stroke. The next moment however is unexpected, and as the girl strikes him with a club that she had obviously hidden from him beforehand Bane curses and slips into darkness.
His eyes flash open and he can instantly feel the pain still coming from the back of his head. Bane does not know how long he has been unconscious nor does he care, only the thought of his escape runs through his groggy head.
He knows he has been tied hands and feet to a pole and can see two of his beast-men attackers carrying each end, making sure that his back scraped the ground every now and then. His wrists ache and he can see droplets of blood through the darkness running down his forearm.
Bane silently curses his gods knowing too well that they would not help him in his current situation. Twice now he has been captured and bound like an animal or common criminal. His thoughts rush back to the past events that had led him here. The girl was walking up front; he could hear her soft voice talking to the man who he had previously thought injured. Damn that girl! He had been a fool for chasing the girl yet he believed he had done the right thing for no-one who could call themselves a man would have left the girl alone. Suddenly a pain explodes in his side, which is followed by a bestial voice.
"So you are awake outlander. No matter." The beast rears its head close to Bane's, a wrong move to do before an enraged barbarian. The beast head explodes as the barbarian swings his own head upwards connecting with forehead. Bane can feel the pain of the blow but is sure that he had split the beast's skull. Before he can find out the outcome of the attack another beast, this time bigger in size and deeper in voice brings its fist crashing into the Kamidian's face.
"This one is dangerous, be sure he does not do that again." As the beast walks away from sight Bane once again slips into darkness.
"He awakes!" The cry echoes through the large badly lit room like a war-horn. Opening tired eyes Bane can see the man who had spoken the words. It was the same who had lain injured in the clearing. Instinctively Bane surges upwards throwing a well timed punch into the man's cheek sending him reeling backwards.
"Away from me!" The barbarian moves to strike the fallen man again but a soft and gentle voice holds him rooted to the floor.
"Please stop!" It is no doubt a females voice and Bane suspects it is the same girl he had chased earlier. "Please do not hurt him barbarian, we are sorry…" Bane's eyes narrow as he spots more figures emerging from the dark room, some shuffling as if wounded.
"What good is an apology woman? Where am I?" The people in the room look as if they have been ill for some time and the rage subsides as an old man shuffles forward from the crowd of men.
"My name is Argune stranger and I am truly sorry for what has happened to you." Bane studies the old man quickly and can see no sense of hostility in his eyes, merely despair and sadness.
"Where am I? Why have I been brought here??" Once again the old man speaks in a melancholy voice.
"You are a slave to the beasts of Mephisto in the City of Fire." Bane's eyes narrow as he looks about the room he is in. He notices a lot of light and noise coming out from a window to the left wall.
"There is no such place." Even as Bane speaks those words he doubts that they are true.
"It unfortunately does exist my friend. A demon city filled with devil-creatures." Bane nods his head.
"I have seen these beasts. Do they run this city?"
"They merely live here barbarian. The history of this place is long indeed and I will tell it you for you have all the time in the world to hear it."
"You may tell me the story old one but a short version for I do not plan to stay here for very long."
"I wish it so my young friend but alas your fate will be no more than ours. Sit," The old man gestures to the Bane, who sits on the stone floor. The old man remains standing but it seems everybody else has taken to sitting as well. He notices the girl slide towards him and a smile flashes between the pair.
"This place has stood for centuries, before the imprisonment of the one called Mephisto. It is an underground city lying to the south of your homeland. The city had been built or at least in part, by the descendants of the beasts that you have no doubt seen. Our fathers and there's before that had been captured long ago by these beasts to work for them. I believe they were from Ensteig. We are slaves barbarian and have known nothing but work in our lives." The story continues and Bane learns about the City of Fire in deeper detail, a pain runs through his heart as he learns of the savagery the beasts treat the prisoners, especially the women.
"Has no man ever stood up to them before?" The old man shakes his head in wonderment.
"Yes barbarian. Many have tried but all have failed. We are I suppose content with our life for we have not seen the outside world. The beasts work us now in such a way that no one remains strong and healthy for long."
"There must be a way old man?" Argune smiles weakly and points towards the window.
"Look outside this room barbarian and witness first-hand the world you now inhabit." Bane stands and with long strides reaches the window. His heart is filled with anger and fear at what he sees.
Great citadels rise to the very tops of the ceiling, the highest points of which hidden in the darkness. Huge stalactites hang from the crusty ceiling while stalagmites rise from the ground to meet them. Great burst of flame erupt from the floor filling the world outside the prison with gases that mingle with the crimson coloured walls. Lines of men tied to lengths of rope carry stone out of caves at different points of the underground city and are harassed and beaten by the beasts that rule this underground world.
He also takes note of a strange-circled platform towards the centre of the place, where seats surround a great pit. Bane does not know what use it has but dreads to think what it's used for.
"What is that pit used for old man?" Argune does not answer only the girl walks towards him peering out at the chaos she has known all her life.
"That is the pit," she says quietly as if fearing it somehow. "It is a place for entertainment but a place of death for us. There is a demon-thing in that pit. Every month a man is taken to it and does not return although we can hear the screams." A shiver runs down the barbarian's frame but he does not show his fear to the girl.
Its then that Bane's acute senses alert him that there is a presence outside the door which is confirmed by the sound of murmured voices from behind the metal door. It swings open and smashes against the wall with a ring. The lead beast steps aside from the door and holds a torch out lighting the room. Eyes avert themselves away from the light and people begin to sob. The n a familiar voice assails Bane's ears.
"Take the large one we brought today and the old one." Bane can hear people's protests that are cut short by muffled screams as the beasts strike them. Argune himself does not say a word or even seems to put up a fight instead he merely turns to the gathered crowd of slaves and addresses them.
"Be brave my brothers and sisters. I must go now, do not cry for it will be an end to my torment." Tears run from Argune's eyes and get caught up in his long dusty white beard.
Bane rushes forwards, his people's battle-cry spring out of his lips as he charges his captors with nothing more than his bare hands. His fight is a short one as no sooner he has felled one beast with a skull crashing punch of iron he is felled himself by thick sticks the creatures carry. Clammy hands scratch at his arms and face as they struggle to pull the barbarian's arms behind his back to tie. It is a struggle that Bane eventually looses.
Bane had calmed little since being tied forcing the beast-men into constant struggles till he is eventually led through the city towards his destination. Bane's eyes widen as he sees himself standing before a group of spectators over looking the pit. He looks towards the form of Argune who has seemed to pass out from fright.
Bane had paid little attention to his surroundings till now and can clearly see the plank of wood extended from one end of the pit. It does not take long before Bane realises he is to be thrown down there, possibly the old man as well.
Prodded roughly by crude looking spears held by many of his foes he is moved towards the pit and watches helplessly as the old man Argune is flung within. His screams do not last long as the old one hits the ground.
"He is lucky, he will not have to face Normath alive." The beast's attempt at laughter hits a spark within the barbarian.
"You plan me to be next do you, well I will not face this Normath alone!" With a cry the barbarian breaks free of the rope with apparent little effort and lunges at the laughing beast wrapping his large arms around it.
As if acknowledging its fate it begins to scream wildly and attempts to break free of the iron like grip that holds it. The strain on its back however is too much and as the barbarian squeezes harder the spine eventually snaps before the pair hit the ground.
Bane is on his feet quickly and his eyes scan the surroundings. The body of Argune lies nearby, as well as many bones of long dead men. He can see no weapon apart from a length of chain besides an opening in the wall, a very large opening.
Fighting back his fear Bane rushes towards the chain grasping it as if a man grasps air before drowning. It is then he hears a roar that freezes him momentarily. His legs seem to refuse to obey his command and his mind had numbed. He can feel warm breath on his cheek and looks towards his foe.
What Bane sees defies belief. It was larger than the beast men he had fought already, more like a bear than an ape but its eyes were wild and saliva dripped from its large open mouth. Large spikes sprang out from its shoulders and small ones out of its back.
"Bul-Kathos! His curse echoes down the dark cavern briefly but the beast makes an attack. Bane is surprised at how quick it moved for something so big but instead of retreating Bane ran to meet it, battle-cry parting from his lips. The crowd above look on shocked but thrilled at the same time for no slave had previously thought to attack the beast Normath.
Bane thanks the gods in his attack that he had caught the chain with his other hand. His only plan was a rash and dangerous one but Bane did not want to die whimpering like a babe in a corner of a pit while beasts above laugh at him. He would take the attack to the beast Normath and hope to crush it with his arms and chain. The beast had wrapped its arms around him then as well beginning to crush him like a vice would hold wood.
Bane redoubles his efforts even though he can feel himself tiring knowing full well his body would be crushed like an apple before long. Iron-thewed sinewy muscles and barbarian determination are the only things that have kept him alive for so long. The beast has gotten fat and lazy, weaker perhaps too in its time and is not used to its food fighting back. With that thought in mind and crying out in both pain and rage Bane begins to feel the monsters grip relax a little and soon the young barbarian is surprised to see he has toppled the beast.
Lying on its back it swings long arms out at Bane but hits nothing but air as the barbarian tightens his grip. Normath roars out in fear and rage, a shout that is cut short when the impossible happens. A snap is heard and the beast falls back to the ground.
The crowd above begin to shout angrily in a tongue Bane does not understand. He would be killed for sure if he did not take action now and with that thought stuck in his tired mind Bane turns towards the dark tunnel the beast Normath had come out from preying it lead to some other place.
His long strides take him through the tunnel quickly until he reaches a door where a curse flies out of his mouth. Obviously the beast had tried to get through it before as the surface was beaten and broken, perhaps weaker enough to allow a raging barbarian through.
Squaring his shoulder towards the door the young barbarian rushes it. A loud thud echoes through the tunnel and suddenly he feels pain shoot through his arm. Determined now however Bane walks quickly back and charges it once more to reap better results. The door gives in as muscled form tears its way through.
Lying dazed briefly besides the debris of the door Bane scans his new surroundings. It is a wider tunnel and the floor is made up of red tiles, unlike the natural rock of the pit. Torches burn viciously at the sides separated by a few yards between them. Towards the very end of the 'hallway' sits a great staircase, possibly rising back to the top of the pit again.
Two dark figures run towards him now, crying out weapons raised high in the airs. Taking a firm grip of the chain he had found and waited for the first to come within range.
His speed and accuracy with the chain-like-flail caused fear to grip the second beast-man as the first fell back, blood splashing the tiles from an exploding head. Bane is upon the other before it can react, first breaking its sword arm then strangling it with the chain. With a glint in his eyes Bane picks up the sword that lies besides his foot. A few test swings and an inspection of the blade tell Bane all the information he needs to know about the general use of the weapon. Smiling briefly he calls out up the stairs.
"By Bul-Kathos blood I will kill the next creature that stands in my way!"
The stairs lead Bane to a large chamber, where a fire blazes in a hearth. His senses tell him that this place, this building is full of the beast-men and it would take him a while to navigate through a building he has not been in before.
It takes the barbarian more than an hour to find a room worth stealing from. Hesitant at first believing this could be the end of him for stopping to pick up gold Bane notices a large statue at the end of the richly laid out room. It is a clear object and within its clear surface a storm swirls in brilliant reds and yellows and stands on a stone pillar. Bane recognises it to be a sculpture of some kind of Mephisto, the idol of these beast people. Ignoring the gold and various other treasures on the floor Bane makes his way slowly towards the statue, sword held out before him as if expecting an attack from the beast. He dares not place a hand upon it but reads instead a passage written in common on the stone pillar, beneath the statues clawed feet. Bane reads it out loud.
"A gift to my children, my eyes shall watch your riches collected from mortals, lest this be broken, I shall bless this city for all eternity." The passage makes Bane's skin crawl. He reads it out once more trying to decipher what it meant. If this was what he thought it was and indeed hoped it was why had it been left unguarded? An easy answer to his question was the fact that the beasts had probably believed it safe as no human had probably gotten here before. Without hesitation Bane strikes the statue to no apparent effect. The mist within becomes violent, as if angered by the attack. Still Bane does not doubt for a second that his theory is incorrect.
This time he grips the blade with both hands allowing the chain to drop with a ring to the cold floor. With a mighty cry he sends it smashing once more into the statue that cracks but does not break. Again his sword crashes against the object to greater effect, the power of the attack literally shattering the glass type surface. Sweat begins to run from his forehead and the barbarian feels a little weaker but still he lets one last cry and swing attempt to destroy the image of a demon.
To Bane's delight the statue shatters, and the swirling mist is released into the room and flows into the walls. Looking at his sword he notices it to be broken, and picking his chain up he leaves the room and the treasure to its fate. He can feel the whole place vibrating; can hear screams and great stone slabs falling down. A brief look outside a small window Bane can see the consequences of his actions.
It seems to Bane as if the mist itself was flowing into buildings and beasts destroying both. To his horror he notices the prison building collapse. He averts his eyes and lowers his head as if in shame. Still it is best to forget today he thinks as he makes his way through the death and destruction.
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