Memories of Connor's Adventures

Orlando the Adventurer pulled a Scimitar from beneath his Robes and smiled...

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Short fiction: the light of shagur vu

The Light of Shagur Vu

Lurak focused on the chanting voice. Nevok, the Shaman of the Vutak, was reaching the end of the day long ritual. Lurak could feel the pain of the tattoo fading.
“Shagur Vu! Shagur Vu Lurak!" Nevok's voice was weakening with the light of Shagur Vu. The Beast would once again fall upon the Clan of the Vutak. Lurak felt the old one again brush his hand against Lurak's shaved head. Lurak could once again smell the strange mix of ochre and dayflower pollen. The old man paused. Lurak opened his eyes to the Firelight that warmed the cave. He knew what would happen next. He had aided the old one in this ritual when Shagur Vu Urgar had given of his life that the Vutak might survive. Now it would be his turn, this beast of the un-living world would come soon. Lurak watched the young boy approach with the claw of Shagur Vu. This gift of the most powerful spirit had been found embedded in the now sacred Usak tree that shaded the cave entrance. Found in full view of the fire mountain where only Shagur Vu nests during the darkness of Shoka Ne'S coming.
His young replacement nervously lowered the claw of Shagur Vu into Lurak’s open hands. It was ice cold, brought forth from the Deepest of the sacred caves.
Nevok began the final words.
"Grr- Su Sau Ti Shagur Vu!" The old man released his
Neck-beads as the claw glowed with an infusion of the light and strength of Shagur Vu. When it was over Nevok collapsed against the wall of the cave.
Lurak stood. The claw of Shagur Vu was a weight in his hand.
"Tao Ki Sura Shagur Vu." Lurak focused on the claw for a moment. Screams came from the tribal living areas.
Nevok looked up. It was here.
"Ne Ge!" Nevok was stricken with fear. Lurak put his hand on the old man's face.
"Sha Ki Tao Sura Su." Lurak moved quickly along the tunnel. This would be it. More screams. Lurak was running on the wet stone of the tunnel. His hand gripped tighter on the claw of Shagur Vu. Another turn in the tunnel and the fluorescent glow of moss on the walls gave way to pictures in ochre and blood lit by some distant light. Lurak emerged into the central gallery. The tallow lamps burned in their oil pits. The pictures of everything the Vutak had achieved. Every moment. Every deed. It would all be lost if he failed against this creature of darkness. Women and children were fleeing towards him. The struggle for survival was at it's most intense. The Women paused and huddled against the wall of the cave, dragging the children to the ground. They whispered to the children to look at the dirt and rock while he passed them by. No one looked up. Lurak ran on. Screams came again from the main lair. This time more primal, tainted with the darkness of Shoka Ni. Lurak could feel the strength of Shagur Vu pounding in his chest. The strength flowed into his limbs as he moved faster through the central gallery towards the clan's lair.
A warrior's scream ended with a bone shattering snap that echoed its terror into the cave network.
Lurak emerged into the lair. His foe was everything the
darkness of Shoka Ni represented. It towered twice the height of the tallest warrior. It's body a powerhouse of strength. Its hideous face twisted and distorted in the firelight of those few warriors that remained to hold it at bay.
Lurak looked again at the creature's face. There was
something familiar. A shadow trick. Lurak closed on the beast that held half a warrior in each hand. It flailed into the remaining men with the upper half of he who had once been Shatuk.
Lurak could not mourn the loss of his brother.
"Sa! Sura Ti Shagur Vu." At this, the other warriors
broke and retreated from the creature, moving past Lurak without a look.
Lurak could see it now. The monstrosity wore a mask that obscured its true face. Lurak looked at the facial tattoos. The stretched hide mask had once been Shagur Vu Urgar.
Lurak closed on the monstrosity. His grip on the claw of Shagur Vu had tightened to where it cut into the palm of his hand. Blood was slowly coating the claw.
The beast of Shoka Ni hurled the upper half of Shatuk at Lurak. The weight and speed of the corpse spun Lurak aside.
It moved quickly. So did Lurak. The claw of Shagur Vu tore into the creature's flesh. The Beast turned quickly with the legs of Shatuk, knocking Lurak through a cooking fire.
Lurak rolled to his feet and screamed with anger. Mocking him with laughter, the monster tore the lower remnants of Shatuk in two.
Slow with a leg in each hand, it again converged on
Lurak dove low into the flames of the cooking fire and emerged between the creature's legs where he stabbed into the flesh of the great beast. It roared with burning pain. The claw of Shagur Vu ripped flesh and sprayed the dark ichor that was the monster's blood. The monstrosity sprayed Lurak with its urine. The foulness of the creature's scent assailed Lurak. Lurak rolled further to emerge behind his enemy. Lurak stood and turned to be met with the bludgeoning strike of a gory limb.
First one leg and then the next hammered against him until he succumbed to the pain and passed out for but a moment. It was enough.
Lurak was awakened by the agony of an arm being torn away at the elbow. The clawed hand around his neck crushed the scream from him. The monster chewed at the freed arm with a renewed hunger. The pain was overwhelming. Choking for air, Lurak could still feel the claw grasped in his remaining hand.
Shagur Vu Lurak roared with defiance. The remaining arm, tight about the claw of Shagur Vu, drove upwards between
them with the last of its strength. Shagur Vu Lurak
pushed the point up into the throat of the beast of
Shoka Ni and deep into the monster's brain.
The monster released its grip on Lurak and fell back,
grasping at the claw.
Lurak seized on the opportunity and fumbled about for a stone the size of his hand. He found one.
"Shagur Vu!" screamed Shagur Vu Lurak as he swung upwards with the stone and hammered the claw of Shagur Vu even deeper into the brain of his enemy. The stump of
his arm was spraying precious lifeblood.
The monstrous corpse fell forward towards Lurak and he struggled to avoid being crushed by its weight.
Lurak was weak now. He struggled towards the cook fire.
He had one chance to live.
Lurak forced the bleeding stump into the fire and seared the end against a hot stone. He screamed with pain and fell back from the fire. It still bled. Again he forced the arm into the fire, burying it in the red coals.
Shagur Vu Lurak coughed up blood as he fumbled for the pouch of powdered leaves and roots that the old man had given him. Lurak opened the medicine bundle and pushed
the burned stump into the mix. With his remaining hand
he wound a leather binding strap up the remaining length of his arm, around his neck, and then down again to tie off on the pouch.
Shagur Vu Lurak propped up against a pile of hides and rested. It would be a while before the others returned to investigate.
Lurak was dozing in the firelight when Nevok emerged from the central gallery surrounded by the few remaining warriors of the tribe. Lurak struggled to sit up.
Only the old man approached him.
Nevok stared at the bloody form that was struggling upright. Nevok ordered the warriors to drag the monstrous Corpse from the cave.
Nevok moved to help Lurak to his feet. This was the most difficult part of the task. Lurak didn't speak. He knew what the custom required. The taboos had to be enforced for the survival of the tribe.
Well outside the entrance to the cave network, wood was gathered. The monstrous corpse piled on top and more wood added.
The cremation fire burned slowly as heat built in the heavier wood.
The fire burned into the night and into the next day.
Shagur Vu Lurak and the old shaman choked on the foul smoke of the pyre. It was night again when the smoke was no longer the foul stench of the smoldering corpse.
Flesh had boiled away to reveal bone, which in turn
rumbled under the intense heat. The beast would soon be gone.
The fire was no longer the raging inferno that it had
Become. Slowly the strength of Shagur Vu left the fire and began to dissipate.
Lurak thought of his brother Shatuk. The pain welled up
in his chest.
"Fa Amun Shatuk" whispered Lurak to the fire.
Fire was replaced by ash and glowing embers.
Lurak watched the light of the coals and thought of the
many times in his child years that he had stared into the embers of such a fire.
There in the ash and warm coals was the claw of Shagur Vu. The old man pulled it free of the fire remains.
Nevok looked up from the ashes of the beast and stared at Shagur Vu Lurak.
"Tae Usal Shagur Vu!" voiced the old Shaman. He waved the claw menacingly at Shagur Vu Lurak.
Shagur Vu Lurak was now a thing of the spirit world.
The old man turned his back on Lurak and walked into the cave to join the rest of the tribe. The spirit thing
that was once named Shagur Vu Lurak of the Vutak Clan moved slowly out into the darkness of Shoka Ni.

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