When an N'Geenr forgets their place before Pae, and shuns their duties, when an N'Geenr fails to atone before passing; they will be condemned to an endless circle of pain. Their Skel shall weaken and they shall know nothing of their lives except skel-less suffering for all eternity.
--Protocols, holy texts of the N'Geenr
Firdlass was distraught. He had never expected anything like this to happen. He wished he knew what to do, but he didn't, he was totally helpless. Karin had forgotten him, how long would it be before he forgot her too? Whatever that shimmering was, it had effected them both and, Firdlass surmised, eventually he would forget things too.
Discontent with just sitting around moping, he decided to do something. Looking at the barrier, we tried to gauge its strength, see if it can any weak points. In total, the barrier must have been about twice his height across, and about 1.5 times his height, all made up of large, heavy rocks and pieces of wood. He could see through the gaps into a tunnel beyond, one end of which lead outside, he presumed, and the other went further back into the hillside. If he got out of here, he wouldn't know which way Karin had been taken, but chances are it would have been deeper into their home. Regardless, he would have to search both, and it would be more practical to settle on searching the one leading back into the hill. On further inspection, the barrier didn't look all that sturdy, and Firdlass didn't really believe that these slobbering wrecks of a people really had the capability of making a sturdy construction. It was sturdy enough though, and as push as he might, it would barely budge. He began testing it all along its length, from left to right, and then back again, and the strength was about the same all over. Then he had a thought, the part where they pulled Karin through must be weaker, if it has a door or something like that in it. He found the place and could make out through the gaps that indeed this was some kind of door. It had been barricaded with rocks and more wood which acted to keep it closed, but Firdlass thought he might be able to force it if he applied enough force. He walked back to the very back of the cave, in preparation for a running jump.
* * * * *
Karin had been full of joy as the people, people that looked like her, had rescued her out from the cave, but that illusion had soon faded. These people were not like her, not like her at all. They hooted and screeched at her as she was dragged deeper and deeper into the caves, and as they got deeper she noticed that the natural light source was slowly being replaced by some kind of glowing moss that lined the walls and ceiling of the tunnels. She had stopped struggling, it was useless. Whenever she tried to get away she would be set upon by 5 or more of these people and she didn't stand a chance. She averted her eyes from them, not wanting to look at their naked bodies as if seeing her captors bare flesh somehow lessened her. At least I'm not trapped with that beast. She didn't really believe that though, something about the strange creature reminded her of someone, and she had doubt as to whether it really would have hurt her. It didn't matter now though, that was over. She only hoped that somehow these people would let her go and she could get back to the village, wherever that was from here, wherever here was. She sighed at the hopelessness of it all.
She had tried talking to these people, but they didn't seem able to understand her. In fact whenever she had tried to communicate with them, the had become aggressive and hostile, and only the actions of her 'guards' these 4 huge, brutish looking men had stopped the other people that seemed to be milling around aimlessly from hurting her. As she had been being escorted down these tunnels, she seen many of these strange people. They acted like animals, many of them walked about on all fours, some just sat around, staring into nothingness, many seemed to be fighting with each other for no reason she could comprehend. She had been scared when they had passed one just repeatedly banging his head against a wall. He had turned as she passed and lunged at her, his face all bloody and deformed from what must have been hours of this self-abuse. One of the guards had grabbed him and pummelled him so badly, Karin couldn't bare to watch, and as they left, she could hear the faint sound of someone choking on blood.
The guards stopped and Karin, each shoulder held by the large hand of a guard, was brought to a halt. They had reached what was obviously a special chamber. The light now was solely coming from the moss, and everything seemed to have a slight bluish-grey tint to it, making the whole chamber feel a lot bigger than it actually was. She heard a loud grunt from the chamber, and the guard escorted her in.
* * * * *
Firdlass crouched down low, ready to sprint as hard as he could against towards the barrier. If he could jump at just the right moment, he could land feet first right on the door and hopefully push the rocks on the other side loose enough to be able to push the door open. He took a moment to compose himself and then ran at the door, jumped and sailed through the air, crashing his feet into the door with such force, that the wood beneath his bare feet cracked under the pressure. He felt it give way beneath him and he quickly jumped back. There the door stood, cracked horizontally across the middle. It was slightly ajar now. He didn't have much time, obviously someone must have heard him so he had to act now. He pushed. Dust and fragments of rock were falling from the ceiling around the top of the barrier door and as he pushed, he felt the rocks behind the door giving way inch by inch. With a final grunt of determination, he pushed again and the door slid open just enough for him to squeeze through. He was free! He looked around desperately for something he could use as a weapon. These people worked by smothering their prey, and so he needed something to keep them at a distance. Looking around, he noticed a large piece of wood hanging from above the doorway, one end splintered to a large jagged point, it was perfect. Hearing the mad, laughing noises of these people coming towards him, he quickly yanked the piece of wood from its securing in the cave rock and brandished it before him. Come on, N'Mae-Skel!
Firdlass leapt into the air as the first of the people that he named the N'Mae-Skel came at him, bringing down the makeshift club onto its head with a sickening crunch. It fell to the ground lifeless and Firdlass jumped over it, heading further into the cave and into the fray. If he could just keep himself in the air, they would have less chance of being able to jump on him and crush him. He brought round his club with an almighty swing, caving in the side of the head of a N'Mae-Skel that tried to jump him from the side. If there was one thing Ja-N'tor were good at, it was climbing, and Firdlass used that fully to his advantage. He jumped against the walls, gripping onto small outcroppings of rock with flexible toes, beating confused N'Mae-Skel as they jumped at him, wildly flaying their arms, before jumping back down and onto the other wall. He had left the brutally battered remains of at least 6 N'Mae-Skel behind him now, and the others had learnt they had no chance of winning now that Firdlass was unleashed in their home and they ran, screaming at his approach, the occasional slow one tasting the sharp end of the club as Firdlass impaled them without mercy or remorse.
“Karin! Karin! Where Karin? Kaaaariiiiin!” Firdlass roared, adrenaline and rage running through him more than he had ever felt before, even when wrestling with Rutink-Mae-geen.
* * * * *
Karin was led into the chamber. In front of her, sat a very large, muscular man on what she presumed must be some kind of throne. The 'throne' was made of various pieces of metal and trash which seemed to have been collected from the surrounding parts of the chamber. The whole chamber was full of strange mechanisms, bits of metal and other materials. It was a short of glorified trash pile. Karin, had never realised so much stuff could just be left around like this, unused. The bald, muscular man on the throne jutted a chin toward Karin and grunted at the guards, who promptly left.
When the guard had left, the man jumped down from his throne, a staff similarly made of junk clasped in his hands as he approached her, shuffling from one leg to the other in a strange zigzagging fashion. As he approached, Karin noticed that unlike the other people she had seen so far, this man was just bald, he wasn't completely hairless. His eyebrows were still there, as was his armpit hair. Karin dare not look any further than that, she didn't want to provoke him or give him and signal he might interpret the wrong way.
The man slowly circled her in his strange zigzag fashion, sniffing her occasionally and touching her with a probing finger. She didn't know what to do and so she just stood there, frozen, hoping that the man would leave her alone. The man had come full circle and was facing her again. He looked down at her, a horrible grin on his face, showing his hideous, decaying teeth.
“W-What d-do you want?” Karin shuddered.
As soon as she uttered the words, the man glared at her and his hand came swinging round slapping her in the face, sending her to the ground. She clutched her face, and began trying to back away from him, pushing herself along the floor with her legs. The man snarled at her and ran up, kicking her in the side over and over again, screeching at the top of his lungs.
Huddled up in pain, trying desperately to protect herself from the torrent of blows raining down on her, Karin curled into a ball, protecting her head and face. Eventually, through the ringing in her ears, she heard a grunt. The beast of a man that had been beating her had gotten bored. Her head was ringing and she was aching all over, at least in the places that hadn't already gone numb. She dared not move in case she invoked another attack. Instead, she just laid there, silently crying to herself through tightly shut eyes.
* * * * *
The rage was in Firdlass now. It was boiling deep in his very Skel. He was in a Skel-For, the burning heat of his rage erupting from his Skel and spilling out in the hot fury of battle. None could stand in his way as he travelled, unchallenged by the now cowering and awestruck N'Mae-skel, towards what he had gathered was some kind of important place. He has searched high and low, reaching out with his Skel for Karin, and still nothing. Something deeper though, something inside him was telling him he was on the right path. The man, the N'Skel that he saw in Karin's mind and in his dreams, the man was guiding him, fuelling his Skel-For, bringing him closer to saving Karin.
The tunnel was opening out now. Glowing moss covered the walls and ceiling, the cold blue-grey light reflecting Firdlass' malice and intent. He would destroy anyone who harmed Karin, destroy them utterly and absolutely. He was close. The tunnel ahead opened out into a large chamber. That must be where she is! Firdlass yelled out as he charged forwards, his bloody club swinging through the air to take care of the 2 guards that ran to challenge him.
The where large men, muscular and well built. Even so, they were no match for Firdlass, gripped in the fury of a Skel-For. Firdlass leapt into the air as a guard swung for him, bringing the sharp end of the club in line with his feet as he ploughed feet first into the guard's chest. The club splintered through the guard's chest, blood erupting into the air as the body fell to the ground, Firdlass standing on it's chest. Breathing heavily, glaring at the other guard through his drooping brow stained with sweat and blood, Firdlass pulled the remains of the club from the corpses chest. The other guard could barely look at Firdlass, he just turned and ran gibbering incoherently with the horror of what he had just seen. The bloodied stump of wood held tightly in his right hand, Firdlass walked into the chamber.
It was barely a second. Barely a second before he saw Karin, laid out, cowering on the ground, a huge man, obviously the N'Mae-Skels leader, stooped over her. The man had turned towards the entrance to see what the noise had been and his eyes met with Firdlass'. Firdlass looked back to Karin again, and then to the man. Karin laid on the floor, barely conscious, the clothes on her lower half torn away, the man stood large and erect. Already, in the split seconds it took to realise what he had interrupted, he had killed this man a thousand times in his mind and now the Skel-For burned even deeper at the sheer hatred of what he had witnessed. This man wouldn't even have the opportunity to repent. For... this..., he could barely think it, for raping Karin, you... will... die!
Firdlass roared, he ran, livid towards the man. He reached out with everything he could muster, he reached out with his Skel, fuelling his power with the Skel-For, reaching out harder and harder, further and further against the invisible barrier that seemed to encompass this cursed land. The air began to visibly ripple in front of him as he charged ahead and the man, gripped in fear turned and ran but it was too late.
Firdlass was closing in. He could barely see the man any more, the rippling in the air was so intense. At the moment he brought round his club the strike, the rippling reached it's apex and shot forwards, into the back of the running man. At was like all Firdlass' hatred, all the fury and rage he had within him and manifested itself as a wave pain. The wave hit and the man dropped, screaming to the floor, clawing at himself, trying to rip out an invisible attacker from within himself. His skin began to split, as if thousand of tiny insects were biting and tearing at him all over his body and the man writhed in agony. Defenceless in his agony on the floor, he could also scream more as Firdlass pummelled him over and over again with the bloodied stump of wood that served as his weapon.
* * * * *
For the first few minutes, Karin had thought the worst. The man had torn away her clothing and his intent was obvious. She knew she would stand no chance against him, especially after the beating he had given her, but she had been prepared for the worst. As he was lowering himself onto her, she was going to kick him where it would hurt the most and try and run, if she could. It turned out she hadn't had to. From out side the chamber had been a noise, the sound of men dying and running in fear and before she had realised what was going on, the man was no longer above her.
She had opened her eyes and seen the hairy beast-man that had been locked up her, chasing her assailant. He let out a roar of such rage that Karin closed her eyes in shock before she saw something unlike anything she had even imagined. The beast-man was wrapped in a shimmering field, the air itself seemed to be trying to escape the hate emanating from him. And it sure was hate, she didn't know how, but she could feel it, even on the other side of the chamber. The hate wasn't all she could feel. Something about it told her that the beast-man, whoever, whatever it was, was here for her, to protect her. Gripped in a strange combination of awe and fear, she could do nothing but watch as the man was crippled under the wave of hatred coming from the beast-man. She watched as the beast-man pummelled his opponent over and over again. His bloodied stump of wood shattered with the force of his blows, and he threw it away and carried on, fist following fist. Karin just gawked as the beast-man stood up, bloody strands of matted hair hanging down from his fists. The man he had beaten lay, barely recognisable even as human any more, on the ground before him in a widening pool of blood. Firdlass turned to face her. Their eyes met. She screamed.