The Shaman (Part 6)
This part was hastily made to make up for time lost during parts 4 and 5. It also serves as a keystone for the series, and a tribute to the people who helped me get through the mini-series. I hope you enjoy.
Bodin’s black silhouette jogs out of the huge gates which are lifted up, scraping along the concrete walls at their sides. Hot air blows out of his nostrils as he grunts and snorts. He wipes his nose with the same hand wielding the giant totem, but it becomes wet again. The sky is grey, and the elements do not seem to be on my side. My fist no longer tingles with elemental power, nor does the Grimhammer speak to me. My blood is becoming chilled. I am scared to face Bodin Hailhoof. He embraces the crowd’s roars, screams and whistling, trying to interpret the old language used, not to mention the mix of Scottish and Brummy accents. He stretches his arms, cricks his neck and rubs his hooves in the now solid ground. It was turf but that died years ago.... now the Dwarves have replaced it to be a proper arena of sand and stone. The dust blows in my eyes, and I rub it out with both hands. They’re bloodshot but they’re still awake. I must fight Hailhoof. We step into the arena and meet each other. Our lips are silent, but our eyes argue constantly.
“ORC! TAURUS! ARE.... YOU.... READY?” The Troll calls out, standing next to King Bronzestein. Bodin nods, but I see he isn’t. I nod too, still unsure about fighting this huge humanoid bull.
“Mulgore Bentar.” He mutters, readying his huge totem.
“Rokk’Shellar.” I reply in Orcish. We take ten steps back from each other and silence fills the arena. An invisible blanket suddenly muffles the people’s calls, but the tension silently screams.
“FOR DE GRIMHAMMER CLAN.... FIGHT!” The roars return on the Troll’s command, and Bodin launches himself straight at me, pummelling me with his totem! I fall and slide back on the stone, drying my teeth with a hiss. Alright you big bull, have at you! I kick my legs up into the air and project myself up and on my feet. I’m no martial artist, but I have some agility. I rush to him and dig my hammer into his tough hide, some blows he manages to parry but his reaction time is slow. The weapon he carries is heavy and will be harder to block attacks going towards his head. He stumbles quite a lot, but he is too proud.... too big to fall and admit defeat. He roars and slams the ground with the totem, making the floor crack and stagger me. He uses this to his advantage, and smacks me with the huge log. Right in the kisser! I spin three times on the spot, but I keep my balance and face the overgrown cow. I swipe at his left knee, bringing him down for a smack around the face. He ducks, but he still moans in agony. Briefly checking the hammer for its condition, I notice how he took a chunk out of one of its corners. I check Hailhoof and see one of his horns on the floor, with a gaping, bleeding wound dripping from his temple. Poor guy. His eyes glisten with molten rage, and charges me, forcing me to the ground.
“DIE, SHAMAN!” He roars, punching at my thick green chest. If there’s one creature who can kill an Orc for certain, it’s a Taurus with severe skull damage. I place my hand on his wound and press on it, casting scolding waters into the wound.
“GYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!” The Taurus launches himself off me, stunned as he sees to his wound. I swipe at his chest more and more but he has given up his offence to reinforce his thick chest. He is unstoppable, or so I think. My weapons are useless and I have little Shamanistic knowledge. The Grimhammer’s enchantments are doing nothing either! I have to use the environment. He chases me slowly, and I keep watching him as he does. Throwing enraged and powerful swings at me, dodged by mere inches, Bodin fails to see the trap that is so obvious. My plan is set in stone, and all I need to do now is get to his legs. I smash my hammer against his huge club to set it back into his face! While he’s stunned, I grab his right hairy leg and tug on it, making him topple like a woolly Jenga tower.
The aged titan has fallen into a trap he could’ve so easily avoided - a simple square laid out with spikes around it. Not everyone who’s old is wise.... I spit, and turn my back on him. Speechle.... splotch! I turn around to find him tearing himself out of the trap, with gaping holes in his chest and shoulders. His chest is covered in fresh, rich blood, but he looks woozy. He can be killed. He will be killed. He throws more precise blows with his decorated totem, now making much better time with the few litres of blood he has left. I manage to deflect a few and take some to the chest, but I will not die. Bodin knows that his time is running out.
“I am no Shaman.... I could never expect to fight.... days on end.... like.... you....” He falls to one knee, supporting himself with his huge weapon of choice. We Shaman never made a duel last ten minutes like this. It would last hours on end, days even. But Bodin was as wise as any Shaman, and had the strength to lead an army of them. He lets go of his weapon, and coughs up more of his untainted blood.
“Shaman.... I do not wish to fight you.... but.... I must fight until the death--,” he brings up more of his blood, beginning to wretch up.
“Surrender! Even a Warboss of the Grimhammer will allow an exception--,”
“But a Taurus will not! You must.... kill me....” A hard decision to make. I release my hammer and return the huge tree to him. If he is to die, then may it be with a weapon in his hand.
“Then we shall do it your way. Strike me, and I will end your pain.” He nods, as more of his thick bodily fluids drip from his lips and into his brown beard. How could I have done this to him? To trick him instead of fighting properly until we’d knocked each other out, cold dead? He rises with my aid, and I heal his wounds. He is still too old to fight now. His youthful spirit betrayed him, and has left behind the aged husk for me to kill. He raises his weapon for the last time in the centre of the ring, and brings it down. I take the blow to the cheek willingly, and fling my mace into his heart, making it explode on the inside. My body sours through the arena, launching me back to the gates I had walked out of. My body and robes scrape along the stone, grazing me and releasing the black goo I call blood. I crawl to him, dragging my lime, bruised carcass to him, and rest my head on his chest.
“Hoof and Horn guide you to the afterlife.... father....” I splutter, closing my eyes and hoping to join him. A tear flows, and is caught on the hair near his hips.
A New Age has Dawned....
I was awoken by the stench of homebrew, finding myself in a fluffy bed with fine pillows and blankets. The Dwarf Clerics saw to my wounds, and I turned to face Baldor Bronzestein - King of the British Dwarves.
“Ye gave us a good show, despite ye becomin’ too attacked to ye enemy.” The short man in full bronze armour chortled. His crown was an excellent display of power, and the fist holding a hammer on its front was well-crafted.
“He was no enemy.... he was a friend....” I groan and check my wounds, seeing that Cleric magic wasn’t all too bad.
“Ye clansmen are always comin’ ‘ere, hopin’ to become the warchief o’ ye mob. It’s ridiculous I say--,” I grab his ginger beard and pull him towards me. His eyes widen in fear, and his crown falls off.
“LISTEN TO ME, BRONZESTEIN! WHAT WE DID WAS FOR THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS HONOUR ONE CAN CLAIM FOR AN ORCISH CITY! WHAT WE DID WOULD DETERMINE THE FATE OF OUR HORDE!” I push him back, and spit the froth that generated from my teeth onto the ground. He picks up his crown and brushes his armour, looking at his guards and holding them back.
"I understand, Orc. And I apologize for my.... misunderstanding. Allow me to make it up to you, by giving you a ride home.” He didn’t mean to sound rude, especially when I thought he meant he was chucking us out. By being given a ride home, my feet would be given a break and we could avoid any more encounters with corpses or raiders. A moving car meant trouble, and most probably an army behind it, so they were often left alone. I take him up on the offer, and climb out of the bed, finding my robes have been repaired by tailors. The Grimhammer is placed in my hands, and it hums with happiness. Before I leave the ward, I look over my shoulder and say,
“I’ll be seeing you again soon, Bronzestein.” And with that, I take my leave for the journey back to Hammersfield.
The sewer lid slammed open, and many weapons were readied to see who would come down the ladder. It didn’t matter, as both cheers and screams would fill the place anyway. Neither Bodin nor I could return and hope to be happy, seeing the opposite race being completely destroyed by the death of its leader. First, it was Shanks who went down the rusted ladder, followed by Jorrok who carried Tundra. Then, I joined them. There was silence, and whispering. I can’t understand.... how are they so quiet? I look to one Taurus warrior who puts his hands together and claps, followed by another. The Orcs too begin to do so slowly, not sure if they should stop or join in just to prevent the first person being embarrassed. Soon, the entire sewer system was flooded with cheer and clapping, joined by the calls of “LONG LIVE THE SHAMAN! LONG REST BODIN HAILHOOF! HAIL! HAIL! HAIL THE GRIMHAMMER CLAN!” I take my place on my throne, and the cheering dies down, but the smiles remain.
“Brothers! Sisters! Shanks....” I look at him with raised eyebrows, and a few chuckles come from the audience, turning to the blushing zombie. “I have returned, but sadly Bodin Hailhoof cannot. He was slain in the arena during combat, and fought well for his age.” Many were nodding in agreement, and I smiled to see they still respected the old bull. “I did not use the little Shamanistic power I had, merely to heal his wounds before the final swipe. He begged not for mercy, for he was an honourable Taurus, and he deserves his rest in the afterlife.” Not even I could take Hailhoof’s death well, and tears formed in my eyes. “Despite what he said about me, about being a lucky mutant who was chosen for Shamanistic studies.... about me being too young to lead.... about me having little knowledge of the world outside England.... HE WAS STILL A GREAT MAN! AND IF YOU CAN HEAR ME BODIN, KNOW THAT YOU WERE ALWAYS MY FIRST CHOICE TO PASS THE CROWN ONTO!” Hails filled the sewers, both of Orcs and Taurus! Tankards were raised and ale was spilled in his name and in honour of the great deeds he performed. “HE WILL BE REMEMBERED IN CHILDREN’S STORIES AS A HERO WHO FOUGHT THE GOBLIN ARMIES OF NORTH YORKSHIRE! HE WILL BE REMEMBERED FOR HIS BRAVERY IN THE FIRST DEFENCE OF HAMMERSFIELD! HE WILL BE REMEMBERED FOR HIS SACRIFICES! HE IS BODIN HAILHOOF - THE GREATEST TAURUS WHO EVER LIVED!”
Nights on the pop have never done me much good, and tonight is just the same. Getting drunk because a respectable mutant was killed doesn’t feel right, for the obvious reasons. Poor man.... he needs his rest. He will rest eternally now, and fight when his native American landscape calls for him. That man was a genius.... a man of truth and one Helluva shot with his totem. He was the kind who would play golf with a live grenade and a lamppost. He was a good father figure. It will be a long time before I find someone as admirable as him.
For Eric Carling; a life-saver, a charmer and one hardened son of a gun.
Also, for the fans who have helped me get this far and have supported me constantly. You know who you are!
PS: The series isn't over just yet - I just wanted to show how appreciative I am at this stage!
Continue the journey here!
- The Shaman (Part 7)
The Shaman seeks out the person who has whispered to him for three years.... can he expand his Shamanistic knowledge without his people getting suspicious of his adventures from home?