[Vfw-times] MK Winter Assault part 35b

COkane8116 at aol.com COkane8116 at aol.com
Mon Sep 24 22:36:08 CDT 2001

Jono has never before been in a berserker rage.

In fact, the very concept seems utterly alien. He's always been the 
coolheaded, smooth talking type; he'd only resort to actual fighting when it 
was utterly unavoidable, say when the drunken warrior is charging you right 
that minute. Mindless violence has never been a problem for him.

But something new seems to have been stirred up in him with the changes the 
Keep has made.

He's always rather liked what he got out of the Keep - much more athletic and 
graceful, voice restored to him (improved, even!), and a large variety of 
audiences that always appreciated his services and oftentimes also had 
stories of their own to create and relay. His only real regret so far has 
been his occasional bouts with frustrated wanderlust, and that's all.

If he were in full control of his thoughts right now he'd almost certainly be 
realizing that his new feline nature has come with something else new.

But he's not thinking clearly. The only thing he can think of right now is 
destroying every last Lutin in front of him, which he is doing with 
disturbing efficiency.

He's not absolutely perfect; one lutin manages to get in close enough to 
bring its club down on one of his rear legs. But he barely even notices any 
wound as he turns, yowling, and rakes at the Lutin several times with his 
claws. The Lutin doesn't get in a second shot.

* * *


Daemion stares at the apparition, dragging Sammy in inexorably. Somehow he 
knows that this giant horseman is some kind of representation of Death. And 
that once he's got Sammy he's never going to give him back.

Daemion is not about to let that happen.

"Derek! We've got to go help Sammy!" He pulls his friend to his feet. "C'mon!"

Derek blinks, shaking his head a bit as if trying to get his bearings, then 
notes the apparition for the first time. His first reaction is not fear. 
Indeed, it is far from it, as he draws his sword and charges at the 
apparition, screaming a battle cry and swinging his sword over his head.

But the apparition simply laughs, then rears back his horse and has it kick 
forward, throwing Derek back like a toy and sending him sprawling onto the 

* * *

Next to Jono is Kirk, his battleaxe flailing about, cutting down Lutin after 
Lutin. A casual observer would believe him to be under similar influences as 
the berserker cat near him.

Kirk usually isn't berserking at all. He'd be proud if he heard said 
observation; that's exactly the image he likes to convey. Kirk learned very 
early on from Dana (from back in her Darren days) that one of the primary 
uses of being a large individual is intimidation. In other words, making it 
look like you're in a state of powerful, unstoppable Rage. It tends to cause 
the enemy to hesitate, and in melee combat, a few seconds' hesitation is 
usually all it takes. So most of the time in battle he likes to make it look 
like he's immortal and invincible and that nobody is going to escape him.

Right now, however, the casual observer would be much more correct than Kirk 
normally wants. Two of the children he's been trying to protect have been 
badly wounded, perhaps even killed. He hasn't even looked over to them, 
though; he knows there's nothing he can do directly for them. The only thing 
he can do is to keep the Lutins off Jo's back while she works, and that means 
killing every single last one.

He does have his wits about him more than Jono, though. So he does realize 
how much more trouble he's in when, with nine or so lutins to go, Jono takes 
a blow to the head and lets out a loud yelp before falling to the ground, 

Kirk's first action is to bellow and charge again, swinging the axe as he did 
before, hoping to scatter them long enough so that he can finish them off 
individually. He manages to get three of the Lutins with his axe, but the 
rest manage to dodge out of the way, then start closing in. He swings the axe 
upwards, catching one of them under the chin and flinging it upwards as well, 
but that gives another one of the Lutins time enough to sneak in and score a 
hit along his side with a sword. He bellows again, this time Not planned as 
he turns and decapitates the Lutin responsible. This only opens him to 
another attack from behind, this time with a Lutin spear. This time the 
bellow becomes almost a scream…

...And then suddenly there's Perry, yelling his battle cry, cutting down two 
of the Lutins as they seek to stab at him with their spears, hurrying to try 
to help. But before he can get all the way there the Lutin immediately behind 
Kirk has its club moving, striking him in the back of the head and dropping 
him to the ground. It'll take a few seconds for him to be able to get up 
again, and by that time the second spear-wielding Lutin can-

And then Kirk's eyes go wide in surprise as said Lutin lets out a loud cry, 
as though transfixed, and then goes thud against the ground, with Perry still 
twenty feet away and running. He manages to turn just enough to see some 
black-furred thing swinging what looks like some kind of halberd into the 
final Lutin's chest, causing it to groan, then finally fall.

He blinks his eyes, trying to clear his head. "Doesn't he look familiar 

"Corporal Jahnsen?"

He gets a weak sounding "Sir, pleasure to be of service, sir" before the 
batmorph falls to the ground from exhaustion.

* * *

Derek leaps up, seemingly unfazed, grabs for his sword and charges again, 
swinging the sword just as the horse kicks forward again, fire issuing from 
its mouth as it whinnies while Derek attempts to remove a leg and cripple it. 
But the blade passes right through the leg, not harming it at all, while 
Derek is thrown back again. And the apparition cackles loudly, sending a deep 
chill down Daemion's spine.

And somehow Daemion realizes what's going on. "You can't attack him! We have 
to cut the ropes!"

"Ropes?" Derek asks. "What ropes?"

"What do you mean, wha-" Then it hits him. He can't see the ropes! He can 
only see the big bad guy!

* * *

"Jahnsen! Are you all right?" Kirk is trying to get to his feet, and mostly 
succeeding. Jahnsen isn't really trying.

"...more or less, sir..." comes the weak reply.

At least he's alive. Then Kirk turns to Jono - who is already up, back in his 
usual anthropomorphic form, and staring in the direction of where the kids 
were. Kirk turns to look in that direction and freezes.

The first thing that he notes is Jo. She's almost sprawled back, leaned up on 
her paws, staring incomprehensibly forward. Her herbal bag is next to her, 
some of the contents sprawled out a bit, as though they'd been shoved.

The second thing he notes is Daemion. For some reason he's seated in what 
looks like some kind of meditative posture - both of his hands touching both 
of the wounded kids, his eyes closed, his head leaned downward. He seems to 
be trembling slightly, but otherwise is showing no signs of life.

The third thing that registers in his mind is the globe of radiant light that 
has Daemion and Derek and Samuel all surrounded.

"What in the name of all the Gods is that?" he manages.

Jono just seems to shake his head.

* * *

Daemion now knows exactly what he has to do.

"Derek, give me the sword."


"I need it!" he shouts. "I've got to cut the ropes! You've got to hurry and 
keep Sammy from getting dragged all the way in!"

Derek looks confused for a brief moment, then gets back up on his hands and 
knees, puts a hand on the sword and shoves it as hard as he can, sliding it 
across the ground to Daemion. Then he gets to his knees and charges towards 
Sammy, leaping at him and tackling him down to the ground.

The apparition then starts to chuckle quietly, in a low, deep tone, spinning 
the scythe faster and faster, light flashing off the blade, his horse rearing 
back again and letting out another burst of flame as the chuckles start to 
grow into a hideous laugher, getting louder and louder and louder...

Daemion doesn't allow himself to be shaken. He CAN'T.

"NO! You don't get Sammy!" he screams at the apparition. Then he grabs the 
sword, rushes up to the ropes, and starts hacking away as hard as he can at 
the ropes binding his friend...

* * *

Kirk and Jono both manage to crawl forward, towards Jo and the globe. "Jo!" 
Jono calls out. "What happened?"

"I..." Jo stammers.

Just a few short seconds ago, things were still making sense for Joanne. A 
tragic sort of sense, in that there wasn't anything she could really do for 
Sammy, but it was still making sense.

That was before Daemion moved in.

One moment she was preparing a compress for Sammy's neck in the hopes that it 
might perform some kind of miracle to heal his damaged windpipe and thus save 
his life, and trying to get Daemion to stay away as well. The next thing she 
knows, she's being flung away from the child, herbal bag and all, coming down 
to a not-so-soft landing only to see. . .

... this....

"What is it?" Jono is asking her. "What happened? What's going on in there?"

"I..." she starts again. "I have no idea..."

* * *

The ropes aren't breaking! It's having no effect!

He's been swinging at the ropes for what feels like hours, though it could be 
merely seconds, and there's no effect whatsoever...

Derek keeps pushing vainly, trying to keep Sammy away from the apparition, 
but Sammy keeps moving. Sammy himself is now looking more and more like 
himself and less and less like that lizard guy, and he's sobbing and 
shuddering in absolute fear. And the apparition is laughing and laughing and 

...And then the wind picks up, and Daemion himself slips to the ground, then 
starts to slide towards the dark-suited figure, and Derek calls out "Daemion! 
I can't stop it!"

And the apparition is still laughing, a hideous grin now apparent through the 
face on the helmet, and then as Daemion watches it suddenly turns into a 
blackened human skull with fiery red eyes, and screams piercingly at him... 
"Foolish boy! Do you really think you can beat the Master of Death?"

Daemion gets back up.

Oddly, his thoughts are not of rage, of revenge, or of any other sort of 
hostile emotion. All he feels now is a quiet, almost subdued, but firm 

"No." he says simply.

"Of course not!" the apparition screams, cackling once more. "You'll never 
beat me!"

"No," he says again. "No, you're not going to win. You are not taking my 

His voice is firm and final as he raises the sword, closes his eyes, then 
brings it back down on the ropes.



The hideous cry comes from the apparition as it flies backward from the loss 
of the tension on the ropes, suddenly looking more and more like a skeleton, 
fading away... and the other ends of the ropes catch Daemion, and he's flung 
back as well, and he lands next to Derek and Samuel who is looking solely 
like the lizard now... and then...

* * *

Without any warning at all, the globe of light vanishes, right in front of 
the astonished eyes of Jono and Jo and Kirk and Perry. And yet not one of 
them moves a muscle. They simply watch as Daemion stirs, breathing in very 

Then the wound in Samuel's neck closes up, blood vanishing from around it as 
though it was never there.

And Derek and Samuel both open their eyes, blinking a bit, and sitting up 
just before Daemion falls to the ground, exhausted.

And all anyone watching can do is stare.


  End part 35
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