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Markshire Storyteller - The Mad Red Titan (Part Three)

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Sar Khan realizes his outburst and settles back down sheepishly.

Lord Mark continues as if expecting the outburst, "A swelling rage engulfed Luke. For in fact he did seem to swell. In moments he was the size of his father and then twice his father's height. Still smaller then the Titan he roared up out of the fallen home."

The flames burst outward around the group as the illusion of Luke grew and the paladin's greatsword cut in a blinding arch. The sword ripped into the Titan's arm and came away. The tipped of it smoldered and molten metal ran from it. The sword was ruined but the giant bled.

"Recalling his mission the youth reigned in his temper. Quickly while the Titan was distracted by this development Luke lumbered off and within moments he was his normal size again. Looking about quickly he spied the barn," Lord Mark's voice was filled with excitement.

"He grabbed the only horse in it and thundered off on it bareback," Lord Mark pauses for a moment, "Meanwhile. A host of wizards and men descended on a small fort in the mountains to the west."

The illusory burning house and the barn faded away and were replaced by a tiny fort upon the center of the long table.

Allox reaches to the table and takes a sip from a glass of wine that appears there as he reaches for it. Once the cup is returned to the table it fades from vision again. He continues, "Nestled in the crook of a pass, the fort had few inhabitants. Suddenly it was full to bursting. The wizards were not still. A clearing was cleaned of debris. The local priests were sent for. The ground was sanctified and as the wizards started a chant, a drone took up the beat. Slowly it built in power. It went from drone to thuds. Steadfastly beating it built and echoed through the mountains and pass."

The illusory fort was a buzz of activity. Men ran about wildly looking for the sound.

Lord Mark ---- his hand near his ear listening to the drone coming from the top of the knoll, "Suddenly it became clear. Boots. Many boots. A host was marching from the pass toward the tiny fort."

A shout from the hill could be heard, "Dwarves. Hundreds"

Lord Mark smiled and said, "Yes, a host of dwarves from the city deep beneath the earth to the south had arrived and centered amongst them was the door of the priest's vision."

The dwarves crested the hill of the knoll and were seen to be surrounding a massive door. Of course, they were in miniature.

"A gate nearly 100 feet tall rolled forward. It rode on treads pulled by dwarf and mule. The host came to rest at the bottom of the hill near the base of the pass."

The host was swarmed by the robed figures of the wizards as if they had been expecting an army of dwarves to appear. In the midst of this chaos the illusory mithral Gate began to glow and it slowly rose.

It slowly drifted up over the fort. Men ducked as it passed overhead. Their horses shied and whinnied in fear of it. The massive piece of metal drew to the ground in the center of the sanctified clearing.

Lord Mark whirled and pointed as one of the illusory guards shouted and pointed across the plains, "LOOK!"

And there across the plains could be seen the massive red figure. The Titan had arrived.

And out before the red giant a pair, horse and man, drove on. Luke thundered across the plain with the Titan close to his heels. The illusion zoomed in and panned left to view the two in profile. The horse was dying beneath the large man but still it pounded onward.

Luke reached out and patted its neck, "Nearly there." Luke was tired as well. The Titan had come too close, too many times but the mountains were in sight. Their goal was near.

The tired paladin spurred the beast to put some more distance between the giant and himself and then pulled up and wheeled the mount to face the Titan. The sky above the table of listeners filled with the insane mask of the giant's face and shoulders as it loomed over the knight. The illusion of Luke taunted the Titan, "FOUL BEAST! CAN YOU NOT KILL ONE LITTLE MAN?!!!"

The Titan spurred to new heights of anger threw his sword at the winded paladin. It dug a trench in the earth near the beleaguered horse, throwing Luke from the animal. Winded the grandson of Thrym managed his feet as the Titan recovered himself and his blade. Luke could see the clerics and mages on the field before the fort.

Within a step the Titan was on him. Luke was pressed to avoid the blade of the titan. But ever mindful of his goal he retreated. Not once did he miss a step or fail to turn the huge blade. Slowly he crossed the last few hundred yards.

Lord Mark took up the narrative once again, "Now everyone at the keep could see the young paladin battling for his life. As he crossed the last few hundred yards a a mighty thunderclap rolled across the plain. The ground quivered and bucked with its passing. All were sent flying to knee and ass, even the titan himself.

As he said this the ground did buck and shake and Lord Mark was thrown to his knees. Many at the table were turned out of their chairs as well.

Standing, Lord Mark resumed his story, "Seeing his chance to cross the last 100 yards Luke launched himself back to his feet. He dashed toward his goal."

"The monster, enraged beyond thinking scrambled on hand and knee to try to squash his miniscule opponent." The illusion of the titan matched actions to Lord Mark's words and the Titan was almost comical in his efforts to tag the tiny knight.

A chant came from all around the knoll that nestled the table. Real mages and clerics walked to the edges of the hillock and stood over the group.

"The mages and clerics began to chant together. The powers that be leapt to their collective feet across the heavens and rained power down upon their chosen!" cried Lord Mark over the chanting. The mages and clerics began to glow. Above the clearing where fireworks frequently hung in the hair a new decoration could be seen. The cliff wall of Thrym Pass shown upon the air and a brilliant white light grew from a point on the massive rock wall and blotted out everything, including the sun.

From the light came Lord Mark's voice, "The light built to a point and then streaked toward Gastlinyk. Realizing too late that he had been tricked, Gastlinyk managed his feet as the beam of power struck him full in the chest. The massive sword he wielded in two-hands sailed into the sky."

The illusion of the Titan glowed brightly over the park in Stonemark. Lord Mark continued, "The titan glowed for a moment as the light bathed him. Then all at once the light retreated." The brilliance receded as he said this, "As it left, so too did bits of Gastlinyk. Slowly it dwindled. Few even now could see what transpired. The light faded and so did the Titan."

The illusion of the giant dwindled away to nothing. Lord Mark could be seen plainly again as he was speaking, "A resounding boom dropped across the plains a second time." The park once again resounded with a massive chest-pounding BOOM!

Unaffected this time Lord Mark went on, "When everyone could clearly see again it was noted that the gate was raised and sealed over the portal in the cliff. Many of the mages and clerics died from the power they channeled. Many more were permanently blinded."

The scenes around the table in the park abruptly disappeared except for a lone figure stumbling toward the foot of the table. Mournfully Lord Mark started, "As the dust settled..."

Sar Khan shot to his feet and asked, "Is he okay?" as Lord Mark continues, "Luke Thymes, II staggered into the encampment. Most thought him unscathed."

Sar Khan's face clears of anxiety as he says, "Guess so."

The staggering figure falls to the ground just before the table. Lord Mark walks over to the body and bends over it, "Until he fell on his face. His back was burned black. He died then."

Lord Mark looks up at the gathered listeners then, "No one moved as he released his last breath."

The muted whispers of the gathered clerics and mages stopped and silence reigned for several moments. The men and women standing atop the knoll all feigned shock and awe at the death of their champion. The silence lengthened.

Fort HelLord Mark's voice startled everyone, "Then a deep shuddering breath wracked his body. And then another. By the third the priests were upon him." Elderly clerics ran down the knoll in awkward gaits including Bishop Kolton and gathered about the illusion of Luke Thymes.

Lord Mark continues as he walked out of the knot of men, "Until very recently, this extraordinary man lived in Gastlinyk Gate. The city itself had built up from Fort Ansgar and the encampment within months instead of years. A fortress was built below the Gate, bigger and stronger then the original. Knights were sworn to guard the Gate against all threats."

A lone figure appeared among the gathered mages still on the knoll above the listeners. A true Knight of the Gate stepped forward and nodded to Lord Mark.

Lord Mark concludes, "And there ends our story. I thank you all for coming."

The assembled listeners sat in silence a moment as the varying dignitaries slowly backed into the gathered fog until Lord Mark was alone at the foot of the table. Then the fog enveloped him as well.

Reinhart the Red began clapping just as Lord Mark vanished into the gloom. Sar Khan comments, "Good story Lord Mark." Lady Tyian, winner of the Great Penguin Caper, chimed in as she applauded, "That was wonderful, Lord Mark."

Stepping from behind her chair as if by magic, Lord Mark says, "Indeed it is an amazing story. I recall my father telling it to me on his last night before joining Odin in Valhalla." A grim sadness is plain in his last comment but he continues none the less, "I apologize. I must retire. This story is truly exhausting. I bid you all farewell. Perhaps I can find time to do this again."

The End.


Markshire Storyteller: The Mad Red Titan: Part Three © Markshire

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