Thunderhorse's Tale

The party jumps into the Jeep and eagerly await their travel through time. Doc puts the time bomb on the center console. They all watch it intently.

Five minutes to go.

"Thunderhorse," Doc asks, "What kind of magic do the wizards use?"

"Well, as the story has been passed down through by village, when the wizards first came they were kind. They could heal ailments with herbs and scents and things. Then they began turning water into wine, right in your mouth! But it was all a trick to get the villagers to let them stay. Then they began to build a temple. In this temple, they performed rituals. Dark rituals. They buried the dead in the earth, sealing their souls in the ground rather than allowing them the release of fire to ascend into Valhalla. They began turning wine into blood and bread into flesh. The flesh and blood of their evil God, who had the power to raise the dead, and who had risen from the dead himself.

"For this God, who they called Krist, was once a man. A man not born to man, but of woman alone. And this man performed the miracles of the wizards. He strode across the sea without falling in, as the sea would not have him. He brought the dead from the grave. The kings of the ancient world saw his evil, and had him killed. But he rose again and ascended into Valhalla, where he overthrew the Sons and Daughters of Odin to reign over the Heavens, alone.

"The wizards performed their rituals to try to bring their God back to the world, so that he could reign as King of all Kings. They demanded that all the people of the village worship this God, or else he would deny even the most valliant of warriors access to Valhalla. Instead he would send them to Hel to be tortured for eternity by the dwarves, who had been corrupted by this God's evil will, unless they swore an oath to serve him.

"They said the old Gods are dead, but no one in the village believed them. Their God cannot defeat Odin or Thor. He is a troll beneath the Rainbow Bridge, nothing more. Whe the villagers told the wizards this, the wizards became angry. They summoned an army from the east, and had the village burned to the ground.

"The wizards' army had weapons the villagers had never seen. Their steel shined bright as the sun. They had shields as tall as a man. Great bows that could spit fire from a mile away. The Great Hall of the village was made of the strongest stone and earth, but the great wooden arms of the wizards' army threw flaming boulders at it, crushing the walls and burning its timbers. Our people had no choice, and fled to the north.

"That was the time of Haakon. When villages were destroyed in the name of the Krist. Stories came from throughout the land of great plagues cursed upon entire cities for not worshiping the Krist, of wizards who could defy death, heal their friends, and curse their foes.

"Our village lived in isolation from this world, but we knew in our hearts that Haakon, the Wizard who called himself King, was not dead and would come for our village if he ever found it. We did not allow outsiders into our new settlement, which is why I do not speak the language of this place.

"After a harsh winter when no grain could be grown, no game could be hunted, and no fish could be caught, we were forced to trade with a neighboring village. The year after, the wizards arrived again. This time lead by a man called Nathan. He came bearing the signs of an accolyte of Haakon; a golden cross on a staff and a golden ball of sweet-smelling steam swinging on a chain. Nathan came to proclaim our village under his rule, and he under the rule of the King of Kings. He said we should pay homage to the Krist at his tower to the north of the village. He was immediately cast out.

"Our elders considered fleeing the village before he returned, but his army returned at night as the council argued. I stood outside the Great Hall and fought alongside my friends, Axeface and Skullfucker. I killed five of his soldiers before we were overwhelmed. We jumped on our horses and fled for the woods. They pursued us, and they killed Axeface. Skullfucker and I escaped.

"We returned in two days to find the village had been ravaged and was overrun with Nathan's soldiers. They did not recognize us, as they did not see our faces in the dark. They were hard at work burying our friends and families. I saw them seal my father's soul in the ground, no doubt to preserve him until the wizards could raise him for their armies of the dead.

"Skullfucker and I found Oldbones, the drunkard, hiding in the refuse pile. He told us how all the women who were not killed, including Jazelle, were captured and taken to Nathan's tower where they would become Brides of Krist. So he and I swore to rescue them.

"But we failed. We had gathered all the men who had escaped the slaughter to a secret place in the mountains to plan our rescue. There were nine of us: Babycrusher, Bullcatcher, Silvertounge, Bearclaw, Fairhairson and Elder Fairhair, Oldbones, Skullfucker, and I. But as we rode towards the Tower, we were blinded by a great storm, no doubt brought apon us by Nathan. We became lost, and wandered the White Wastes for three whole years. Oldbones was the first to die from the cold, followed by Babycrusher and Silvertounge who fell into an ice crevasse. Elder Fairhair and Bearclaw killed each other over a scrap of rotting wolf meat we had found. We killed Bullcatcher when he went mad and tried to eat our remaining horses.

"Fairhairson, Skullfucker, and I eventually wandered right back into Hilton, defeated. The blizzard had lasted three whole years, and we had walked in a circle over mountains, through frozen woods, and across deadly glaciers, but we had not rescued our women.

"We rode right into the Great Hall and killed all the soldiers we found there. Deranged and hungry as we were, we fought furiously and slaughtered them all. Once they were all dead, we went about un-burying our fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers and releasing their souls to the sky in a great pyre. After this, we went to the tavern and drank for two years. This is when the Ritenrong found me.

"But now I am back and we have these weapons the likes of which the wizards have never seen. We will find Skullfucker and Fairhairson and lead them on this steel steed you call Jeep. We will ride into the heart of Nathan's city and wreak untold destruction upon him and his hateful accolytes! And we will rescue Jazelle, Helga, Girda, Skyla, and all the others, so that we may rebuild our village with the fruit of our loins!"

Thunderhorse ends his sentence with a great roar which shakes the whole Jeep.

Doc checks the clock. It's not there. Did it roll off the console when Thunderhorse shook the car? Doc looks around, but there's no sign of it.

Doc checks his watch. Two minutes overdue, and nothing seems to have happened.

Doc turns his attention carefully to the windows.

There's quite a small crowd outside, about a dozen people and more gathering. The best way to describe them is "dirty." Behind the crowd, strikingly, the skyline is gone, replaced by a speckling of ramshackle huts of stone and thatch.

"What the fuck...?" Mark mutters.

The people stare through the windows at them, deeply confused at what they see. The library outside of which they were parked has been replaced by a stone church.

Two men in chain mail come rushing out of the church, leading a priest in white linens who is carrying a bible and a crucifix. The soldiers point frantically at the Jeep and shout, while the priest tries desperately to search through his book to find some answer to what they are seeing.

"WIZARD!" shouts Thunderhorse, still riled up from his own tale. He stands as he shouts or at least tries to, hitting his head on the ceiling. He practically throws himself behind the back seat, leaning over and reaching into their weapons stash.

1 comment:

Doc said...

Boy, you do know how to write 'em!

Okay. First calm Thunderhorse and remind him of rule #1, Do No Harm. If I have to, use 2(?) chi to give him the thought calmness, but I don't want to use it unless I have to as the adventure has just started and who knows what we are going to get into. Convince Thunderhorse that the only way to rescue Jazelle, Helga, Girda, Skyla, and all the others is by guile and smooth talk. If that doesn't work, then we resort to more drastic measures. Right now, We have the upper hand, but it would be foolish to play it too soon and bring their armies down on us when we might be able to just get in and out without a fuss. We didn't come to unravel time, we just came to rewrap it the way we want it. Whatever I say to him it has got to be fast. Tell Marc & Thunderhorse to stay in the Jeep unless I give them the signal.

If that is enough to defuse the situation in the Jeep or not, I still have two knights and a priest to deal with, and I have got to spin them a yarn, and it has to be a whopper!

Alright, I'm just winging it here, so bear with me. Let me get out of the Jeep slowly, non-threateningly, at ease, and with a smile. Now I address myself to the priest (the glasses act like a Babel fish right? If not, I'm going to have to rely on my language skills. Cross your fingers.) I tell the priest that I have been sent by His Holiness, Pope SoAndSo(I'd know who it was. I'm a historian, but feel free to call me on this one and do a history check) Tell the priest that we have a friend (Thunderhorse) of the Pope's who can only be cured by the blessing of a nun that is in the area. Pope SoAndSo had a vision from God that if his friend could be relieved of of his "madness", he could negotiate the far east into converting to Christ and aid the kingdom of Prestor John. We need to find a nun or a woman named Jazelle. Should questions arise about the Jeep, tell them that His Holiness, Pope SoAndSo has a holy mechanic name DaVinci who by divine inspiration built this carriage just for this mission. It is run on the power of angels. Hell, at this time religious artifacts are a major business. It's 1068 after all.

Should any of this turn sour, stop and let me rethink this. I have a couple of back-up plans but I don't want to commit myself if I don't have to. I want to see how this shakes out.