Fan fiction:Bane Hero of the North/Chapter 6
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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 6: Haunted Dreams
The crimson tapestry moved slightly, as if caught by a hidden draft. The room was a mystery to Bane for he had never been in one quite like it before. The walls were black as pitch and the tiled floor seemed to move like water. Huge pillars of swirling red mist burst all about him. Looking out of one very big window Bane's eye's widened as he saw a sea of lava hugging the building he was in, small eruptions of fire breaking its surface.
Bane began to pace about the room, unsure of his stepping. Behind him sat a row of seats, high backed and well polished. The seats had similar design to that of a human skeleton carved into the wood. He looked above him but could see no ceiling, it being lost in the darkness above. How far did it go he wondered? Bane then began to study the black walls in greater detail, noticing patterns on the stone similar to those he had seen in the City of Fire. Great weapons were mounted on the walls and above the fireplace behind the seats. There were barbed spears, halberds, and swords of all types some of which Bane had never seen before. Flanking the fireplaces sides were two suits of full plate mail armour. They were polished and shone like the stars at night. Bane did not like the look of any of it, especially the armour, which although well cared for, was tainted with evil as spikes round its way up its shoulder plates.
It was then a white mist began to flow out from beneath the great wooden doors in front of him. It seemed to dance in an unfelt gust of wind. Bane's hand went for his swords hilt, only leaving him shocked that it was not connected to him. Instead he found himself wearing a peculiar outfit. It was a fine piece of armour that he studied, thick gold plate-mail that seemed impossibly light for something so big. He then noticed the bear pelt cloak that hung lifelessly from his shoulders.
"What is this?" He whispered as he stroked the bear pelt. "Why am I wearing such clothes?" As if in answer a voice called out, which appeared to have come from the mist.
"I am showing you a glimpse of your possible future Bane." The barbarian recognised the voice as belonging to the demon he had not long ago encountered, one called Horthis. The mist looked as if it were taking on a form, as if it were solidifying.
"What possible future do you talk about demon?" Bane remained calm, seeing as he did not want the demon to attack him with no weapon to fight back with. Horthis laughed again, sending a chill running through Bane's blood.
"Is it the nature of every man in this world to question what has been written before the birth of this planet? I talk about destiny Bane, your destiny." The mist was taking shape, a human shape.
"And what is that beast?"
"I will tell you Barbarian in time, for the moment I am amusing myself, entertainment is so hard to find these days. I will merely hint at things."
"Do not mock me Horthis." The mist parted and revealed a human figure, but with no features or muscle tone or colour. It began a slow walk towards the stunned barbarian.
"Where am I?" Bane asked, a look of confusion written across his face.
"You are miles from your body Bane. This is my home, what do you think of it? It is a custom of mine to call forth a sleeping spirit. I have dragged your spirit half way across Sanctuary to talk with you as I said I would the last time we met."
"Release your hold on me demon and return me to where I lie." Bane's voice carried across the great room like a voice in a cave echoing across its walls.
"You have heard of the Three have you not, and the prophecy hanging over this doomed world?" Bane simply nodded, unsure whether or not he wanted the creature to walk near him. "Then would you be shocked to hear that you will play a role in this prophecy, one that you cannot avoid and one which will ultimately lead to your death." Horthis reached out his hand to place upon Bane's shoulder, Bane however did not want to be touched by the demon, and instead jumped back, away from Horthis's outstretched arm.
"Hear me out barbarian before you choose to ignore my words. There will be one man, a barbarian such as you who will ultimately face the Three, one such man who is yet to be born. His name I have foreseen just as I had foreseen yours before you were born. This child must be protected at all costs."
"I do not understand you are evil are you not? Why are you telling me such information?" Horthis's dark figure appeared to chuckle.
"I am evil, for that I am certain. I however hold no love for the dark brothers or their plans for this world, Mephisto most of all, for they will destroy it, change it. That is something I do not want for you mortals amuse me. You may not believe in my words but you will one day." The figure moved back and appeared to glide across the floor towards the door before exploding back into the swirling mist.
"A few more things before I depart and return you to your body barbarian. My debt to you is paid for saving my child. The next is a warning, beware the poisoned staff of the beast-lord for it kills, but more importantly, beware his call, for it enjoys leading weary travellers its way in these parts." With that the mist appeared to be sucked out of the room back under the door. It was then that Bane awoke.
He was sweating heavily. Bane looked about him and to his relief he saw only familiar surroundings. He was in the dell he had set camp in before the night took hold. The fire was still burning, the wood spitting out tiny particles of flame and wood. Around the fire Walkin slept, his children resting against his chest. Walkin's wife Annet was awake and sat close to the fire placing her hands over it.
Annet was a very attractive woman he thought as he studied her as she sat beside the fire. Her long brown hair flowed down her soft pale features. Her lips were full and red while her eyes were large, like sapphires, sparkling with intelligence. She looked tired.
"You stare at me barbarian." She turned towards Bane's gaze confidently, those sparkling eyes penetrating his own gaze. Bane sat up and looked at the fire, a less intimidating object to contend with.
His thoughts drifted from her to his dream. What did it mean? Was it real? It must have been real somehow for Horthis was still fresh in his memory. What had the demon meant by he had paid his debt? Was it Horthis who had saved him and Walkin on the night they were to be executed at the hands of the Ferrell Cult by sending the Fallen Ones? It all seemed too possible. What unborn child? What was that about a beast-lord and a poisoned staff? Bane shook his head in despair.
"You look troubled Bane, what is wrong?" Annet's soft voice snapped him out of his thoughts. "Please tell me, the least I can do is listen for all you have done to look after my husband and children."
The least she could do. It would be Bane thought. He had gone through a lot of trouble getting Walkin's family out of Tayla. Bane and Walkin had rested the night the small devils attacked, a few miles from the town. It was then, when Bane discovered prints on the ground that he distinguished to be a horse and plenty of human footprints did Walkin begin to worry about his family's safety. If Cult Father Maskell had survived and was returning to Tayla would he then execute his wife and kids instead because Walkin and the barbarian had escaped?
The following morning Bane had stopped a merchant outside the town's gates, stealing two simple brown robes in which they would disguise themselves and one of the merchants carts and a pair of oxen in which Bane had hidden in the forest so that the family would have something to travel in on the road towards Galmnor.
Cult Father Maskell had survived the attack from the Fallen and had returned to Tayla with a small group of men. He did not however go near Walkin's family instead retreating to his fortress home in a more than panicked state. Bane had snuck the family out during the night and now they found themselves on the road towards Galmnor. But then was it not Bane's duty to save them after Walkin risked everything to save him?
Bane noticed Annet was still looking at him, waiting patiently for an answer, a gentle breeze catching her hair.
"I am fine, a bad dream was all." Annet was not sure what to make of Bane's words, for he was pale and seemed lost, completely unlike the barbarian she had seen during the last few days. She smiled and did not harass Bane further of which he was glad for.
Bane could not shake the words he had heard in his dream however, no matter what he tried to put his mind on be it women or thoughts of adventure. He had hoped the demons words would have faded during the remainder of the night but they had not, as if Horthis himself wished it to be so or worse, was whispering them into his ear. Bane looked over his shoulder but did not see or feel anything unnatural lurking in the darkness. He shrugged his shoulders and turned towards Annet.
"You have been awake along time, rest for we have a long day tomorrow, I will watch now." Annet nodded and stood up from the fire and walked towards her sleeping husband and settled herself against his shoulder, her arms around her children.
A howl sparked off another deeper growl close by as Bane and Walkin's family moved along the trail at a slow pace. Bane looked towards the children sitting next to their mother on the cart. They appeared to be both excited about the noise and frightened.
"What is that noise Bane? It sounds like a wolf." Bane turned his mount around to face Walkin.
"I do not know my friend, it sounds like a wolf yet does not sound like one."
"Is it close?" Bane shook his head.
"Do not worry yourself about such things Walkin, I will tell you if I think we are in danger." Walkin nodded. As Bane turned to leave he shouted back towards the cart. "Keep following this trail Walkin, I will meet you up later."
"Where are you going?" The barbarian did not answer though; instead he spurred his horse on down the trail.
Bane was angry; last night had irritated him with talk of prophecy, even his own death. He did not want to be around the family for he did not want to share his dreams with them or even be around them. He would keep his word to Walkin for he felt guilty about putting the man's loved ones in danger and escort them to Galmnor but what then? Suddenly a growl flashed out at him close by, one that stopped his horse completely. His sword was in his hand a heartbeat later. Bane patted his horse with his free hand, putting on his most reassuring voice.
"There boy, do not be scared…come lets continue." As if giving Bane an answer the horse reared violently almost causing Bane to fall. It then broke into a run, away from the trail and burst into the woods.
Bane was forced to duck and hug the horse or else risk splitting his skull against the thick tree branches that hung low. The horse did not seem to notice them as it ploughed its way through the undergrowth. The sound came again but Bane could do little to calm his horse. Pain flashed through his right shoulder that forced him to cry out. It was bleeding badly, a branch embedded in his flesh. Then suddenly the mad ride was over.
The horse collapsed throwing Bane forward into a large yew tree. Bane slumped forward against it, breathing hard. Turning he saw the steed drop as if from a heart attack and then lay still. His eyes scanned the scenery around him briefly before stepping up and away from the tree. There was nothing, not even a rustle of the leaves. Bane did not like it. His horse would not have panicked in such a way to kill it without being completely terrified by someone or something. Then he remembered the call that startled it in the first place and the words from an unwanted dream. Beware the beast man's call.
It was then he heard the howl. Its sound was unnatural, as if the beast was trying to speak in the common tongue. Bane turned round quickly as if sensing a presence behind him, a manoeuvre that appeared to save his life as his sword came up to block an attack from a staff.
Bane could see the man who had attacked him, or merely something that reminded him of the creatures he had seen underground in the City of Fire, perhaps more human. His opponent was tall, at least a foot taller than the barbarian, with muscles to match that of Bane's. His torso was covered by a bear pelt, any part of flesh seemed to be covered in strange tattoos. Was this the beast-lord Horthis had mentioned?
Bane could feel that the staff wielding man was pushing him back, Bane's knees felt as if they were about to buckle. His sinewy frame began to shake with frustration as Bane could feel his opponent was getting the better of him. Then his fury took hold, his vision began to blur with the coming of crimson. With renewed strength Bane began to push upwards, sweat pouring from his brow. For a second Bane and the staff wielder's gaze met long enough for Bane to thrust upwards, destroying the staff. The man fell back his bear pelt headpiece falling back to reveal mutated features, it appeared as if his face was half man and half wolf.
Bane held his sword out towards the downed creature before him, his black mane sticking to his forehead.
"Who are you?" The creature screwed its face up and appeared to smile. It stared at Bane for several heartbeats, a gaze that even Bane did not relish looking into, as if it were a sorcerer's trick and that he may turn to stone or freeze just like he had done in Nath-San under the wizard Kem-Moth's powers. Then to Bane surprise the creature sprung forwards like a giant cat towards him, still carrying the end of his broken staff roaring out in the same manner as Bane had heard before.
Bane joined the creature's roar with his own, his battle cry seemed home amongst the animals here. The creature's lunge brought it close enough to swing at Bane with its mighty arms catching him with a right hook. Bane ignored the pain and sent his own ham-sized fist into the creatures face; a fountain of blood flew from its mouth showering both combatants. The blow gave Bane an advantage as the creature stepped backwards in confusion. Bane's sword flashed forward, finding its mark above the creature's stomach. It cried out in pain as the broadsword slid home. It dropped backwards, taking Bane's sword with it. Bane could feel his own pain however, and looking back to his wounded bleeding shoulder from the ride here he noticed a smaller cut on his arm, which bled little but had begun to sting.
How did he get the cut? Was it from the wild journey into this forest, a scratch from nothing more than a branch? Bane doubted it as he saw the staff end on the floor, beside his boot. It had a crude looking spike at the end of it; only the size of a needle, the most striking thing about the spike was its colour however, and the burning green liquid that seemed to dance along the surface of the spike.
He shook his head and could have sworn he had spent the day drinking in a tavern, his head felt light but his throat was tightening. Holding on to his arm Bane walked over to the body of the creature he had killed and spat on its corpse before withdrawing his sword and making his way back towards the road, where he hoped Walkin would still be travelling.
Bane was happy when he eventually stumbled back onto the path that his horse had run from, but his muscles had began to tingle and tighten; his body was becoming colder. Bane looked up towards the sky and sent a curse flying up to his gods before collapsing to the ground hard.
He ran faster over the grass and looked back over his right shoulder. The lands around him seemed distant, and every time he made an attempt to get closer to an object, the further away they would move from him. Familiar looking mountains and plains flew past his eyes as he ran, but he could not tell what they were.
A pale white mist rose like fog from the ground before him and the once blue sky became the colour of ash. It was then a creature tore its way through the very earth beneath his feet, writhing like a worm to be free. It looked at him with ghostly eyes and started moving towards him. The thing that struck him most though was the fact that the creature had a featureless face, white in colour. Its lips were thin while its eyes were emerald green.
It reached out to touch him but it did not make contact as he threw a well-timed punch into the side of the creatures face. Its head snapped backwards and it fell to the ground with a groan. As if by silent communication more of the creatures began to rise from the earth, hands gripping his ankles in iron like grips. One burst from the ground and leapt on his back, clawing at his flesh with its claws. The creature's hands burned him and using all his strength he managed to roll the creature off his back.
The grip of his ankles was broken quickly and he began to move freely and away from the ghost like beings. He ran until his legs were burning but he could not shake them. Stopping briefly to catch his breath they were upon him again, this time in force. The man sent a punch flying towards one, which knocked it down, but the dawning realisation that he was surrounded planted the seed of fear within him.
He swallowed his mounting saliva and brushed back his long black hair. If he was to die here then he would put up a fight. Time seemed to slow down as the creatures leapt at him from all sides but before they met him a great light crossed the hills and caused the creatures to hiss and snarl. They used their arms to cover their eyes from the light while scurrying back down the holes they had made.
"Bane!" The voice sailed through the air gently but the man could not tell where it emanated from. It came again this time louder, sounding urgent.
"Who is this Bane you are talking about?" He called out in confusion. It was a familiar sounding name to him but was like a distant fading dream.
"You are Bane. You are Kamidian" Yet again another familiar name.
"I think I remember. Yes…I am Bane." The words came out slowly as if he was not sure of himself.
"You are in a very dangerous place Bane. I am Khalis and I am trying to help you." Bane looked about him but could see no speaker. The lands that the light had penetrated were beginning to fade back into the mist.
"We have not much time. You are in the Lands of Kios*, it is he who has sent these creatures to drag you to Kahib** the fallen heaven. You are strong Bane, most full grown men's spirits would have fled the body hours ago yet yours remains."
"How do I leave this place?" Bane called out loud, hoping the gods themselves could hear him.
"I will show you this place Bane but I can not follow you. You will be on your own. It is this way." A great flash of bright white light blinded Bane forcing him to cross his arms over his face. When he looked again a man was standing before him. The man carried a large oak staff that was at least seven feet tall. It was gnarled and damaged. At the top of the rod hung a blue ribbon. He seemed to use this to steady himself when he walked towards Bane.
"I know you? You are Khalis, my village's shaman? But how can you be here, you have been dead for many years?" The shaman simply nodded and looked hastily about him, a nervous look burnt into his sea-blue eyes.
"This way." Bane nodded and followed the shaman who seemed to have picked up speed as they crossed the plains. As they ran Bane noticed that the light only surrounded them and about ten feet around them, everything else was the colour of iron. Bane could see the creatures rising from the ground in the distance and watched them hobble slowly towards the light.
"Will this light keep those creatures away?" The shaman did not turn round to talk to Bane.
"Yes, but only for a while. I should not be walking these lands for I have done so once before. The gods seem to smile down upon you young Bane, for they have given me strength enough to show you the way back to the mortal realm. You are obviously needed for something to come Bane. Because of this these creatures are not strong enough to defeat me yet. But because of this I can only stay for a short time or I will begin to fade as well, like you. You Bane, are in danger, these beasts will suck the remaining life out of you if given the chance." The run took them past Peak Vanmir, once mountain home of the long dead barbarian king Bul-Kathos.
Khalis came to a stop; breathing hard he leant on his stick. Bane looked about and noticed Lake Kavir was out of place. Pointing towards the anomaly Bane spoke softly to Khalis, a hint of wonder in his voice.
"What is Lake Kavir doing there?" Khalis smiled and walked across to Bane, placing an old blistered hand on the boys shoulder.
"You forget Bane that you are not in the mortal realm. Things get misplaced here, changed around." Bane nodded and looked from the peak they now stood on. A strong wind blew dust madly about the pair, blinding them. Khalis's light flickered. The shaman looked shocked but quickly ran towards the mountain wall. Once there he sat cross-legged and began to chant words Bane could only begin to decipher. Khalis's voice changed; it sounded more mature almost like Bane expected his gods to be like. After several minutes the wall disappeared. Khalis ordered Bane to stand besides him and pointed down towards the darkness of the cave with the end of his stick.
"This is where I leave you Bane. Below here is the Water. It is a place you have heard of before I am sure." Bane was shocked. He had indeed heard of the Water before but never expected him to be doing it so soon.
"Swim Bane and hold your breath. You must make it to the other side to return to the mortal realm. Good luck and may the gods be with you!" With that Khalis seemed to disappear. The light still remained but it was not bright enough to stop the creatures outside from advancing.
Bane entered the cave a blind man. It was dark, too dark to see, even with his keen eyesight. Continuing down the dark path Bane slipped and began to roll deeper into the mountain. A hollow howl followed him. Had those creatures followed him into the cave?
Bane came to a stop after being shot from a chute into a dimly lit room. The stonework was un-mortared and of simple construction. He rubbed at his arm that had taken most of the impact on collision with the stone-tiled floor. Standing up Bane looked towards the chute waiting for the creatures to pop out of it at any moment. He stood for seemed to be an age. Nothing. It was only when his nerves calmed he noticed the pool of water at the far end of the room. He began walking towards it and stopped besides the bank of it. He peered into it but it was too thick to see through. He knew what must be done.
Ever since a child Bane had heard of tales of brave warriors who had survived something they should not have. The explanation was this, the Water. He would have to swim its length to the other side to return home.
He shook his head, forcing his doubt away. He was a warrior, more importantly a warrior of Kamidia. He closed his eyes and took in a long breath before diving into the water. He rose a moment later, rubbing water from his eyes. He then filled his lungs with as much air as possible and began his journey through the water.
It would be hard, for Bane was struggling after a few minutes. Shaking his head he moved through the meandering tunnels using his hands to push himself along faster. He began to feel light headed and panicked for a brief second. Calming himself he pushed onwards and found himself emerging into a larger under-water room. His lungs were screaming at this point and he could feel his arms and legs tiring. How much further was it? Damn that lion-ox and my bull-headedness he thought as he began to feel himself grow weary and tired.
"Grab hold of me…" Bane stopped and looked in front of him. No more than a foot in front of his face was the biggest fish Bane had ever seen. Did that fish just talk to him? The fish was at least five feet long he thought, sleek bodied like all fish are. Its head was strange as well; large orb like eyes were mounted on its large head while a long snout lay between them.
"Bane, take my fin." Bane did not know what to make of this. Perhaps this was a trick by the death god Kios, but then he would not come to him as a fish! Reluctantly Bane stretched out his hand and grabbed the talking fish's fin. His muscles tired and his lungs screaming Bane fought to keep hold of consciousness as the fish swam quickly through the tunnels.
Bane passed out.
Walkin paced about the fireplace like a man possessed. He had slept little since he had found Bane unconscious on the trail to Galmnor a few days after Bane had left his family. He had placed the barbarian on the cart so that Annet and the children could look after him; tend to the wounds that were scattered across his sinewy form. Bane had remained in a feverish unconscious state for the remainder of the journey to the great city of Galmnor.
Upon arrival Walkin had sought out a healer before seeking out a place of accommodation. He had struck up a conversation with a short man who seemed on edge every time Walkin had asked him a question, especially when he had pointed out Bane. Luck was with him though as the man pointed out a cheap and trustworthy healer who lived just outside the slums area. Now Bane's life lay in the hands of the eccentric old man called Eldric who had opened the door to his house. Walkin's family were allowed to stay in the large home until Bane was well, or died which he said was most likely to happen.
What did Walkin care anyway, it was the barbarian who had placed him in this situation in the first place, asking an honest hard working man to free him from the clutches of Walkin's former brotherhood. If Walkin had not asked Father Maskell to release the barbarian would he not be at home right now, his wife and children no longer away from family and friends? No, he had done the right thing. Bane was no more a demon than himself or Annet and did not deserve to die. Suddenly there was a shout from his wife, an excited and relieved one. His oldest child Florn came bursting into the room almost knocking the door of its hinges shouting out loud, jumping up and down in the air.
"Father come see!" Walkin looked at his son and placed his hand on the boy's shoulder.
"What is it Florn?"
"Bane has woken up father, come look!" Walkin smiled and could feel a wave of relaxation hit him after being so tense. Then Bane's voice drifted in through the room, a very confused and angry one.
"Away from me!"
- Kios- the barbarian death god ** Kahib- the afterlife
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