Fan fiction:Bane Hero of the North/Chapter 4
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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 4: Lost Child
Bane had never thought he would be so happy to see the sun glaring at him again but a great relief passed through him as Corim led him back to the surface, towards a beam of sun-light.
At first the sun had burnt his eyes for he had not been near light for days, the last torch burning out a few days journey from the spider lair. Corim had said his farewells before Bane had left the underground city, saying he had no wish to see the sun.
Bane had emerged from some kind of tomb buried within a hill and found that he was standing in a forest with no idea where he was. How far was he from Galmnor? He decided it was best to carry on east. With a bit of luck perhaps he was in the same forest as before his capture by the beast-men.
If he were not in that forest what then would he do about employment for Konrad would surely understand his position? He would have to seek other means in which to go by.
Now Bane's thoughts reared back into the past, about the events that had led him to the spider as he came to rest besides a tree with enough overhanging branches and leaves to cover him from any attackers while he slept. The beast-men were a bizarre species he thought, a race that should never be allowed control of any man in Sanctuary. They however were not plaguing his mind as much as the Black Spider. Never before had he faced such a creature. He had looked into its eyes and sensed an intelligence way beyond human capacity there, truly it was a beast of evil. He shuddered at the thought of such evil and thanked Bul-Kathos for his fortune.
He also thanked Flamir for the sword he gave him. The broadsword was certainly a weapon to keep hold of he thought. It was a perfectly balanced weapon with a bit of weight and a strong blade. He smiled as he stroked the hilt.
He had spent most of the day walking through the forest, studying the various animals that roamed the plant life. He was certainly happy he had not been ambushed on his walk but he still could not find a single trail that led to a well-used road through the forest. With a tired mind and the night sky dampening his mind, Bane leant against the tree and slipped into his dreams.
The peaks shone up against the iron-coloured sky. Snow had fallen lightly but the constant rain that fell from the heavens turned it into sludge. Bane paused for a brief moment; pleased with himself he actually wore his thick leather jacket he turned down so often. He noticed Tukuram holding his position about ten yards to his right, while looking behind him he could see Alaric. This was today's hunting party he thought as the snarl of the lion-ox called out from up ahead, within the cave the trio now had surrounded.
The roar came again, but this time only louder, as if issuing a challenge to the waiting barbarians. Bane noticed Tukuram edging forward and when he heard Alaric moving behind Bane began moving himself, directly for the entrance of the cave.
In the hunting tradition of his people, during the process of the 'hunt', no words were to be spoken by the hunters, only through the hand code could Bane communicate with his companions.
Bane 'spoke' to Tukuram, who seemed to be waiting for Bane to make the first move. For an instant Bane could feel the weight of his sword, as if in realisation that the weapon was soon to be covered in the lion-ox's blood. Stealthily Bane entered the cave.
The first thing that hit him was the stench, the stench of death. He turned around and noticed Alaric entering also. In the hand code Bane gestured that Alaric should stay about five yards behind him and for Tukuram to do the same.
The tunnel they found themselves in was not very big for something the lion-ox was normally found in, just a few inches over seven feet tall and about five feet wide. It was also dark and the trio new they need to light a torch to fight the creature. Bane however was hesitant to do this, for the creature would notice light and be prepared for an attack; perhaps this was why Bane's hunting skills were appreciated, the fact that he had some kind of sense where he was even in pitch darkness.
Today however, Bane did not want to risk fighting such a powerful animal without a way to see it. He knew he had been lucky the last times he had found his prey during the 'hunt'. Stopping he signalled towards Alaric that they should light the torches. Three instantly lit, one after the other. A growl came flying towards Bane and he took a firmer grip on his sword. The beast was close.
Alaric reached Bane first, followed by Tukuram.
"We should not show ourselves all at once*."
"I agree Alaric, but this is a lion-ox we are dealing with." Bane looked around towards Tukuram waiting for him to put a thought across.
"Bane, we should have gone back to the village, got help. No one freshly into manhood has ever been able to defeat one."
"We can and we will. You can go fetch help Tukuram, you also Alaric but I will take this beast down on my own if necessary." Bane relaxed his sword arm and looked towards where the growls emanated from.
"I believe that this is a young one or perhaps we would be dead already." Alaric nodded in agreement. Tukuram was frustrated and almost resorted to the spoken language instead of Kentu, the Barbarian Hand-code.
"I am with you Bane. Lets hope you are right." Tukuram gave a smile, wiping away his worried look.
"Good. What about you Alaric?" Alaric turned around and began to mutter something before a talon hand clubbed him from behind. Alaric cried out and dropped his hand axe hitting the cold ground with blood flailing out behind him like a kite in the wind. Bane just managed to get his sword in the way of the beast's next attack before it sprint off further down the tunnel without a sound. He caught a sight of it for a heartbeat or two. It was indeed a young one.
That's what Bane had worried about, a lion-ox with a keen sense of stealth. How long had it hid in the shadows watching us he thought as he wandered over to where Alaric lay. Turning the downed barbarian over carefully Bane noticed that Alaric was still alive, if unconscious. Bane broke the silence and shouted towards Tukuram.
"We can no longer stay here. We are no longer the hunters. Help me with Alaric so we can get him to safety before we are attacked again." Tukuram hesitated for a few heartbeats. How did Bane know of the ways these beasts acted in? Before long however the pair had Alaric on his feet and were moving slowly back out of the tunnel, towards the daylight.
Bane and Tukuram knew the creature was behind them, following at a distance short enough to be deadly. Bane held his sword in his left hand now, his weaker arm while carrying his injured friend.
A growl made the three move faster and as they moved quicker so did the lion-ox. Bane could hear its running feet echo lightly down the tunnel. They would not make it out even if they ran.
"Tukuram, carry on. Take Alaric outside and come back to help me." Bane spoke slowly and clearly but Tukuram looked as if he did not understand.
"I am not going to leave you alone here Bane…"
"You want us all to die here? So no one will know where our bodies lie and to whom they seek for vengeance. You go and get help." Tukuram was about to say something to oppose Bane's rule but the look Bane gave him was enough to tell Tukuram that no amount of persuasion would make Bane leave or allow Tukuram to stay.
"I will be back my friend, I promise." The two shook hands firmly and Tukuram left, struggling with Alaric.
Bane took a hold of the dropped torch which moments ago was in the hand of Tukuram. He gripped it hard, as if expecting it to come into play against the beast. The light from the torch was bright, and while Bane waved it around he noticed the many tunnels that spread of in many directions, as well as large holes in the ceiling. Too many places where the lion-ox could be hiding he thought as he moved slowly backwards, making for the exit while looking down the tunnel.
Suddenly he heard the beast and felt its breath against his face. Before he managed to face his opponent Bane found himself falling towards the tunnel wall after a vicious blow had struck him on the side of his skull.
Bane momentarily felt sick. It felt as if someone had just cracked open his head. Fighting through the pain Bane turned towards the creature, catching it while it leapt at him. The force of the creature was enough to knock him down. Bane felt the air in his lungs escape him while the jaw came down towards his open and defenceless neck.
Bane brought his fist up clipping the beast in the side of its face. He punched it again and again until his hand was covered in the beast's blood. It roared out in defiance and made a direct attack at Bane's face. With seconds to think Bane caught the creatures jaw with his arm, allowing it to tear into that instead of his face.
Pain exploded in his arm as the lion-ox tore at it with its teeth. Bane cried out and punched it harder with his sword arm. He was beginning to get angry knowing that he did not have long before his energy would be spent.
His sword flashed out slicing through the thick carapace skin. He stabbed and thrust at it until it let go of his arm. Bane got to his feet quickly not giving his arm a glance and sent a hard kick into the creatures face before jumping at it.
His arms wrapped around the creatures neck and linking hands Bane managed to drag the creatures head to the floor where he proceeded to bash it against the ground while avoiding the flailing talons.
It was over a few minutes later. The barbarian's neck lock tore the strength from the beast, and once gone Bane had taken his sword and sent it through its skull.
Bane fell back against the beast breathing hard. During the struggle to weaken it the talons had struck him. His armour was ripped and covered in blood, while his left arm had begun to go stiff.
"I told you didn't I, Tuku. Easy…." He whispered and with that he passed out. It was then that the barbarian woke from his dreams disturbed by a feint cry. His dream was a pleasant one but it seemed to be something that was happening now not two years ago. He had been a fool that day, stubborn as always but he felt nothing but pride at the memory of the day.
Suddenly he heard the cry again, the cry that had woke him. This time the cry was louder and sounded like it belonged to a child. He stood up quickly making sure his sword was fastened well around him and followed the cry of the child.
Bane could hear the desperation of the child's voice and pushed himself harder drawing his sword when he emerged to the clearing of the noise.
He could see a small child with blond straw like hair crying against a tree, hugging a small wooden horse. Armed men on horse and foot carrying a few torches surrounded the boy.
"Kill it!" One of the armed men on horse cried out. "Burn it!" Followed another. The scene horrified Bane who began a slow walk towards the men, sword ready for action.
"What is the meaning of this dogs? Pick on someone your own side, or does child beating thrill you? Leave now or I will cut your hearts out"
"He is with the boy men, kill them both!" A short man on horseback with a grey beard seemed to be in command and barked out a few orders. Bane simply smiled.
"Very well then, you have made your choice. It won't take you long to figure it out to be the wrong one curs!" Bane had counted twelve on foot and three men on horse, a number he would find hard to fight. It was one horseman who reached him first. An expert dodge and thrust pierced the horsemen's chest. Pulling his broadsword free quickly Bane swung his sword in an arch both left and right, towards the charging men on foot. It found a throat and another chest. In the first charge four men lay dead. The barbarian's ferocity had sparked a fear within his attackers but the grey bearded horsemen barked out an order again.
"Fine dogs, listen to your leader and die!" Bane lashed out left with his sword taking a head for his efforts while catching another man in the shin with a lash of his foot. He would have to find high ground quickly though, before his foes worked up enough courage to fight him again. Turning quickly Bane ran towards the boy and scooped him up in his left arm and began making his way towards a clump of rocks. Turning back he could see his foes nursing the wounded. They did not follow him.
Bane carried on running for a few long minutes before dropping the boy carefully to his feet. Bane studied him briefly. The boy was no longer crying and remained silent.
"Don't worry I will not harm you. What is your name boy?" The boy seemed reluctant to answer.
"What is wrong child? Why were those men after you?" Again the boy did not answer, merely stared blankly up at him.
"What's wrong with you child, can you not talk?" Bane shook his head and tried to calm his mounting anger.
"I have heard of people who are unable to speak. Do you live near here?" The boy nodded and wiped his eyes with the sleeve of his brown shirt. Finally the boy had communicated with him.
"I will take you home boy but you will have to show me the way." The boy smiled and nodded again pointing in doing so to Banes right.
"I had thought I was all alone child, I don't suppose you could tell me where I am?" Bane was not surprised by the Childs blank answer. Shaking his head Bane picks the child up with his left arm and rests his upon his shoulder.
"Lets get you home."
The night sky seemed suitable at the moment he thought. It would aid him in returning the child to his home, as surely the child's attackers would have gone home now or at the very least made camp. The night would also give him cover, and with better eyesight than most he could navigate his way easily in the dark.
The child seemed strange to Bane, and it wasn't the fact that the child did not talk. He could feel something sinister about the boy. Still however it was only a child and he had given his word to find the boys home. The boy spent the time leading Bane with nods of the head and extended fingers through the thick forest.
Trees seemed to grow taller and more withered with age. Huge plants of various different species accompanied the trees winding themselves around their stumps. Bane's keen senses forced them to stop on occasion, where he heard the faintest of sounds in the undergrowth. The noise was that of nothing more than animals scavenging through the night.
Bane looked up and could see the moon hanging in the night sky through the leaves of the trees. He had no idea where he was, if he was still in Ensteig or in the Western Kingdoms? No matter he thought there was no point worrying about something one had no control of. Besides, he has a child he has to take home first whose parents will perhaps have an idea what area he is in and would point him in the direction of the nearest city.
It was then, with these thoughts brewing inside the barbarian's head that the boy chose to leap from the barbarian's mighty grip and onto the soft grass. Bane could hear a stream running not to far off. The boy turned towards Bane, wiping his nose with the cuff of his damaged shirt. He then outstretched his hand and pointed towards where Bane presumed was where the stream ran.
"We are near aren't we?" The boy nodded his head and began walking quickly through the bush. He scrambled over downed trees and rocks that even Bane, an extremely good climber, had trouble keeping up with the child. Bane's keen eyesight however tracked the boy continuously, and was surprised at how easy the boy made his way through the area.
Bane pushed himself harder, and began to catch the child before the boy came to a complete stop in a clearing. Bane cantered on through the clearing to stand next to the boy. A smile was spread across the boys face.
Before them was a giant hole in a large hill that was covered by many a tree. The face of the cave was carved out of rock and sent shivers through the barbarian's body. He could sense something unnatural within the cave.
"Come child, lets leave this place." If the child heard him he made sign and instead began moving towards the cave as if in a trance. Bane watched the child briefly and noticed a slight change in his appearance, notably the colour of his skin. Once a white colour the skin was turning a dark red.
"What trickery is this?" Cried Bane who drew his sword from its scabbard and held it towards the mouth. He slowly started moving towards the boy in an attempt to stop the child's walk. Suddenly a voice came thundering inside his head. It was deep and coarse, something told Bane that whatever was communicating with him did not have the vocal cords for human speech.
"Thank you for returning my son Bane. It has made me very happy." Bane span around on his heels, scanning the trees and rock about him in a desperate search for the owner of the voice within his head. "That will do you no good my northern friend. You cannot see me unless I wish it, and I do not." Fighting back the fear of anything unnatural Bane called out.
"Who are you? Release the child and let us be on our way." The voice laughed, something Bane decided was even worse than its voice.
"You amuse me barbarian for now. This is my child and I thank you for protecting him. That religious order you ran into would have killed him. You will meet them shortly for they will find you. Do not be alarmed when this happens barbarian for it is fate, the very thing that will drive you towards your destiny. I will give you my name only; it is Horthis. Remember it barbarian for I will be back to reward you for saving a son of hell. Until our paths cross barbarian farewell."
Bane could hear its mocking laughter loud at first, but as the child entered the cave it seemed to weaken until only a feint whisper on the wind. He shuddered for he knew he was in the presence of something powerful and ancient. He shook his head still unsure what to make of the situation. He could no longer see the boy and the cave seemed to be closing, as if the earth was swallowing it. With his mind racing and his palms sweating Bane slowly began to move backwards, one step at the time before breaking into a run as soon as he had exited the clearing.
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