The Shaman (Part 7)
With Bodin Hailhoof slain in the arena, the Taurus people are restful knowing he at least died in combat. But they still think he would've been a better leader for them. The Shaman must now reassure his people by staying to rebuild Hammersfield and gaining more supplies, but interaction so far is low. The Shaman must start a new journey to Wakefield, and find the Queen of Earth, Thréda!
The long road ahead
It is not hard for me to tell my people that I must leave once more, as I have done it time and time again. They understand that I go with brothers to find food, clean water and currencies to help our economy. But this time, I go alone. Thréda - last night - whispered to me in my dreams, telling me to go to New Wakefield and find her in her domain. Wakefield, I grumble, scratching my lower right fang which goes past my lips. Wakefield was a city I used to go to with friends, back when I was a human, making silly mistakes. This time, it will be different. This time, I go for a worthy cause. I rise from my throne, look down to my sandals, then back at the people in around the long banquetting table.
"Brothers and sisters! Orc, and Taurahe! I must have your undivided attention," I call to them, and like hive mind, they each look at me at the same time halting what they were doing before. I take a moment to revise my words and actions, for every adventure could lead to the destruction of this clan. "I must travel to the city of New Wakefield to gain Thréda's boon. When I return, I shall be able to lend you my knowledge and power, and together, WE CAN RECLAIM HAMMERSFIELD!" I raise my tankard as the horde roars, excited to hear that my duties are continuing. A unexpecting smile grows on my face, and I welcome it. "Though Bodin lies dead, know that I will do what he would do, and ask you to unite each other should the Humans invade. AND FIGHT! UNTIL YOUR DYING BREATHS!" More hails continued to fill the arena, with tankards and steins crashing together, colliding like two planets for the Gods' entertainment or wrath. As I take my seat, the cries of Shaman! Shaman! Shaman fill the air, but alas, I try to remove them.... I must make a name for myself, as should I face another Shaman, I may very well lie dead. No-one will remember who I was.
As I reach the train-station and follow the tracks, I suddenly notice the sound of wheezing, and the clapping of feet on the dry stone. Shanks is following me, dying from the jogging his sore bones insist on doing.
"Shaman.... let me join you...." He asks, placing his hands on his sun-bleached knees. He puffs and pants like a dog running in the snow, and is starting to get a tickly cough in his rotten lungs.
"I should go alone Shanks, as I would be slowed down if you continue to damage your health like this. Return and rest - my people need you in their forges, and should Gorescowl and Jorrok fall, I have no other generals to look to." I explain, but he insists on staying. He puts his arm out, hoping it'll get his breath faster, and begs physically that I wait. His lips do not move. His desperation is shown in his hands. When he looks up to me, I nod, but walk alone through the black train tunnel. He catches up, and manages to get used to my pace.
The City of Druids
We branched off the tracks yesterday, and we were fortunate to miss the Taurus bikers that terrorized the local cities. While I was in Bombingham, the Orc scouts had reported to me that they were searching for the Shaman who founded Hammersfield. While they told them I was away, they said they would search further and return within a week. New Wakefield isn't that far, approximately an hour's drive form Hammersfield, but on foot and climbing through rubble and avoiding raiders it could take around two days to get there. The town centre isn't that far, but we've had little rest and daylight is coming. Raiders are usually out in sunlight, yet at least the magic-altered beasts that hunt in night are passive.... for the most part. I see the old church that managed to keep its spire tall. I smile, pausing to admire the beauty. When a great town like this falls, it's always a good sign that the house of the Christian God still remains. Shanks admires the beauty, seeing how the lush plants are sprouting out of cracks in the pavements and walls of buildings. This isn't the work of a Shaman, nor is this growth natural.
"Shanks, be careful where you step. A single whisper can alert our presence--,"
"HALT! WHO ENTERS THE CITY OF DRUIDS?" Calls an elf, standing on the roof of a nearby building. I'm glad someone knows how to hold a bow - her knees are bent, yet dug into the ground to prevent recoil. The bow is also tilted to the side for a better aim and more air resistance. I put my arm in front of Shanks, who walks into it with an oomph!
"Relax, elf. I am a Shaman, leader of the Grimhammer people of Hammersfield. I have been told to come here by the Queen of Earth, Thréda." She leaps down from the rooftops. Her feet merely pat the floor - the elves were usually druids or warlocks with excellent agility and acrobatic prowess. She inspects me and Shanks, seeing the Grimhammer in its sheathe. The other archers peek out of their windows, their bows drawn and ready. I know this one.... her eyes seem familiar, despite all the mini stars that float around in them. Her skin is brighter than any English human I had seen before.... she's not white, but literally pink. Her hair was altered in the process of mutation, changing it into a selection of colours mainly involving ultramarine, a dark green or purple. White and grey wasn't common, but that happened mostly to males for reasons unknown. A smile grows on her face, betraying the scowl she once wore.
"I am Lieutenant Ironwhisp, a soldier of the New Wakefield Druids. Any friend of Thréda is a friend of mine, and the Druids of this settlement."
Three hours later....
The Druids are hospitable people, forever talking about how they prefer nature to the arcane. They always seem to ask how your recent travels and hunts were, how many plants you've studied and practically how many teeth you've got. While I sought out Thréda in the rundown B&Q store, Shanks talks about alchemy and his interest in horticulture. The guardians here are very trustworthy, but not even they will let me enter Thréda's palace, until I perform an act of healing. I am immediately taken to the hospital - the mostly ruined and covered in vines Toys 'R' Us. Their healing methods are amazing, and being Druids, they go much further than rubbing herbs into one's wounds. They have an extensive knowledge on healing potions, anti-venoms, cures and what-not! It's no wonder they'd cured all forms of cancer long ago. Yet there is only one cancer left for me to fight - the Human race. I am taken to one man of high importance, I imagine who is someone such as "High Treehugger". He has a great infected claw wound across his belly, leaking blood and pus.
"He was stricken by one of our guardian's bears. No-one knows what enraged the beast, as they are all controlled by him." The guardian states clearly. I inspect the wound, prodding it and tasting his blood. It tastes of syrup and chocolate.
"No wonder he was attacked - beasts don't like to be controlled." I say in Orcish, but the Druids barely understood. Good job too, otherwise my throat would be slit where I'm hunched over this man. I form a ball of water in my hand and drop it onto his wound, which slowly manages to seal up. "He will still feel ill. I think because of his connections to Druidism, your magics cannot are rendered useless." I leave the old toy store, and return to the unguarded temple. The moment I enter, the waft of ten years ago still remains - it has that signature D.I.Y store smell of recently imported wooden planks, paint and metal. Yet it has just been reduced to one huge empty warehouse full of plants, outgrowing trees and a huge.... hole in the.... floor. Thréda's voice trembles the entire store, shaking my knees as it does the floor.
"Ah, Shaman! So good you've come! Please, come closer. I wish I could approach but.... well, see for yourself!" Her voice was much, much deeper than before, definitely more aged and gutteral. I step to the edge of the huge hole in the centre, finding the Queen of Stone lying in it comfortably. She's.... large. Very much like those stereotypical opera singers that wear Viking helmets and smash wine glasses with their voices. Her body is made entirely out of stone... mostly hardened and cracked clay. Her eyes are as crystal as the crown she wears, mainly Amethyst. Her finger nails are made of Jasper and Rubies, and her toenails are Diamonds. If the Dwarves were here, they'd get their picks out and start mining her for whatever ore she was made of. I try to bow, but keep stopping. But I am here, and my goal is fulfilled. "Warboss of Grimhammer clan, you are.... yes.... I see you are in much need of elemental training. You shall recieve what you seek. But there is little time. First, we shall start with the power of thunder!"
The next day....
Shanks was awake all night, speaking with Eloria - one of the most attractive elves at the floral city. The flasks from his rotting messenger bag kept him company for all the years he'd been undead, but now he'd found a new companion, and she shares many interests as he. Eloria's brother, Ledel, suspects nothing between the two, but even Shanks know he's offended by the stench of soft, slimy flesh.
"Ah yes, the Corpserose is indeed a beauteous killer. One can simply approach it, pick it and take a good whiff of it. All before a swift and agonizing death. Even if it is not sniffed, merely touching its oily surface will stain the fingers of the beholder.... and even if one removes it from the surface without hands, it will immediately sneeze and blast a poisonous pollen at its attacker." He cackles behind his lips, observing the pressed sample in his large stained book. Eloria smiles at the ghastly, black petals and the juice that leaked when it was pressed, now splattered around it. As she fingered the sample, Shanks looked into her young, delicate eyes. How he longs for a romance.... an experience he had never understood nor felt. To hear the words "I love you" in return is one of the reasons he is glad he is undead, and not having his bones used as toothpicks for demons. Yet to live again and recieve no love pains him.... is it a curse? Eloria looks back at him, unassure about his emotions to her.
"Shanks....?" She asks. Shanks pauses, staring at the stamped flower book. All before a swift and agonizing death.... blast poisonous pollen toward the attacker.... a beauteous killer.... He looks up to her and attempts to smile, but he cannot. He knows such a beautiful flower will kill him. Eloria may or may not kill him with intention, but he must not be too tempted by her innocent lust.
"Nothing, my dear." he finally says, and closes the book. He continues to wash out the alchemical flasks and hand them to her to dry. She heads for the main door of the herb-infested Pizza Hut, and places her angelic, blue hands on them. She turns her head with closed eyes, and Shanks watches her.
"You're a nice man, mister Shanks. It has been pleasant talking with you." Before she leaves, Shanks' cloudy hawk eyes catch a smile, and he gives a grin in return. You sly ol' fox, Shanks.... he hums the tune to his favourite song, Pretty Woman, and continues to wash the flasks. The doors squeak again, and he stops humming, now turning to me.
"Ah, Shaman! So good to see you've returned from training. I would've cooked something up but, it appears the Druids prefer building trees here than making pizza." He rolls his eyes, but they go in complete opposite directions. I give a menacing smile and show him the Grimhammer, ignited at the head. My other hand has blue lightning bolts shooting through the palm and back, around my fingers and thumbs. Shanks gives a hearty laugh, though with the lack of lung capacity, he runs out of breath quickly. "You've learnt some new magic tricks, I see." Shanks is proud, and he claps his hands with glee. "You truly are, the King of all Shaman!"
Continue the Shaman's Adventures here!
- The Shaman (Part 8)
Sorry about this one being late, I've had to rush it during free time due to college. Anyway, the Shaman returns to Hammersfield and finds a lot of change.