This is an idea I’ve been playing with. I have the outline written up but nothing has been finished yet. Here’s a little post of what my idea is turning into. It’s only the very beginning and it hasnt been edited of fleshed out. There is a lot more to write before I get anywhere near there.
Under violent blackened skies on an ocean swelled by the full moons calling, a double mast vessel sliced through crestless fifteen foot waves booming against the hull, one after another endlessly. Cold rains bombarded the ship, slicking the deck, yet men gripped cordage and remained to steady the sails that panicked in the wind. Three portholes along the port side of the vessel emanated a dim hue of yellow from a flamed lantern nailed to a wooden table inside. There were hammocks in rows lined on each side of the ship’s belly. Some were filled with emaciated and scurvy stricken men, others with wooden barrels filled with food and water. Each hammock-man wore a chain that lashed their ankle to the ship, keeping their roaming distance to the hammock alone. At the bow end of the room, in front of the stairs that ascended to the storm battled deck above, knelt Sigeric, a seven foot tall man wearing nothing but pantaloons made of some tanned animal hide. His hair, that looked to once be a golden color, streamed over his right shoulder. His beard pointed to the floor as his eyes scanned the splintering wood below. His arms were extended out by the force of a crewman at each arm, keeping his upper body from collapsing to the floor.
“This one stinks of rot. Is it dead,” said one of the crewmen holding the hulking figure up.
“You aint given us a proper splash,” yelled one of the men in the farthest corner of the ship. They were all captives along with Sigeric, and although it was not easily seen through their greed, they felt sympathy for the large man because of the special treatment he received from the crew.
“Shut your mouth,” said the crewman in return. “Your baths are coming.”
The thud of wood on wood echoed as a peg legged man made his way down the stairs and into sight. He was an over-weight man and he was dressed in rich silks adorned with golden rings and amulets. As he raised his hand skyward, men with buckets full of water entered.
“Time for you bath you poor bastards,” he said. The crew tossed the buckets of water at the men lying in their hammocks. Some of the poor souls showed a thankful smile as they licked the water from their skin.
“What have we here? Acting out again are we,” said the peg legged man.
“Look at the captain when he’s talking to you boy,” said one of the crew as they grabbed Sigeric by the hair, jerking back his head.
“Scared of the storm? I bet you’ve never seen an ocean before.”
Sigeric looked at the captain and understood nothing he spoke.
“Dumb bastard,” said the captain, kicking Sigeric in the temple.
Blood seeped from the new wound, his collection was growing.
”Get him up!” barked the captain to the two crewmen. “Time to feed the bastard,” He picked up a leg of bird and waved it in front of Sigeric who was now standing clearly feet over him. One of the men struck Sigeric in the back of the knee, bringing him to the ground.
“Much better,” said the captain now standing over Sigeric.
The captain smiled and smacked Sigeric in the face with the bird’s leg repeatedly until the meat had been bruised and lay in pieces scattered on the floor.
”Taste good,” asked the captain as he spit on Sigeric’s face and scooped up what meat remained, tossing it toward the other captives who never thought twice to devour it. None had the grace to save any for Sigeric.
“Here you are,” said the captain as he picked up one small piece of the meat and shoved it into Sigeric’s mouth. The bones of the captain’s fingers crunched as Sigeric bit down, causing most to cringe. The captain let out a horrific yell as his fat body fell backwards and became tangled in an empty hammock, blood squirting in all directions from the stumps left on his hand. Sigeric spit the fingers into the face of one of the guards and swallowed what was left in his mouth.
“Kill the bastard!” yelled the captain to his men as they attempted to untangle his large mass from the hammock. One of the men drew his blade and poised it over Sigeric.
“Stop!” commanded a voice before the crewman could descend the blade.
The owner of the voice climbed down the stairs and dusted off his polished black leather armor. Adorned on the chest was the signia of the royal house of Weil, a silver water drop.
“This one is not to be killed or you will lose any funding I have provided. I sought these men for a reason, this one more mythical than the others. I now possess an Antol giant, no longer just a story. I took a chance paying you to head into those steppes. I commend you for your ability to bag him undetected, but your civility in the return home has been lacking. The tales of their craftsmanship is as epic as their supposed ruthlessness in battle. It should all be worth it when we reach the sales table. Besides,” the man licked his lips as he smiled, “It’s your fault you lost those fingers.” As the man marched back down the stairs, the teary eyed captain, now untangled, looked at the large man with fury burning his eyes. With rage guiding him, the captain kicked Sigeric in the face and into the darkness he preferred.
A loud cry came from the deck above followed by a tumbling storm soaked crewman.
“Sir, we lost the sails. We’re at the mercy of the waves.”
“Captain, what do we do?”
The captain stared blankly, his mouth agape. There was no command he could give other than, “Pray.”
A loud snap, like the popping of a giant cork, reverberated through the ship. The front mast had snapped in two and fell into the ocean. A large wave lifted the vessel into the air, and without the winds direction turned the ship port face. As the wave descended it tossed the vessel into the sea, planks snapped and broke inward. Ocean water flushed into the hull and the men inside clung to anything nailed down. As the next wave approached, the ship was sucked backward into it. As it rode the wave upward in a backward motion, it tilted and through the breaks in the ship the men inside could see the full moon between black clouds. The ship was suspended nearly thirty feet in the air before it crashed back to the sea, breaking into pieces. Most of the ship sank below the waves, sending large bubbles up from below. Some were fortunate enough to survive by clinging to wreckage. It was the survivors that heard the unnatural creaks of a dying ship.
The light of the rising sun pierced through his eye lids, waking Sigeric who now lay on some foreign shore. His eyes could barely crack open due the weakness that wracked his body. A small crab with blue spots and one large claw stood inches from his face, seemingly staring at him. Sigeric knew it was eyeing him as food or foe.
“Nen feigr,” mumbled Sigeric, blowing sand at the crab, causing it to flee.
Sigeric managed to peel his body from the beach, requiring much effort. Dehydration cracked his lips and ached his muscles, and his body still suffered from malnourishment. It had been so long since he tasted freedom, yet he felt too lost to choose direction. Scanning the area, he noticed many large trees with large fronds which were unfamiliar to his home. The beach sands extended for only a few yards and beyond that were lush wilderness. He would have to find food soon and drinkable water.
Near the water’s edge he found a small circle of rocks where nature trapped six small fish during the receding tide. They were easy to catch. Picking up one of the fish, Sigeric squeezed, causing its eyes to bulge out and its guts to squirt out the opposite end. Once he was satisfied, he ate the fish raw, spitting out the bones as they came to his teeth. This was the first meal he had had in some time and it brought back a little vitality to his weakened body.
Sigeric walked a few feet from the water’s edge and sat in the sand, digging a hole a few feet deep. The sand began to cake to his hands and turn darker until a pool formed. Cupping his hands, he filled them with water and drank. The coolness of the water glided down his throat and he could feel this cooling effect all the way to his belly. In his ecstasy, he failed to hear the sand muffled footsteps approaching behind him. The hilt of a blade crashed into the base of his skull, sending him face first into the sand. He was dazed but not unconscious. He slowly rolled over to face his enemy, the nobleman from house Weil. Sigeric knew nothing of these people or their houses, but he knew this man was his captor. The nobleman no longer wore his expensive armor. He seemed nearly as beaten as Sigeric; one could easily mistake him as a captive if it weren’t for his finely crafted sword that pointed directly at Sigeric’s throat.
“The Gods have brought you to me again Giant of Antol. This time I will not lose you. Get up.”
Sigeric, holding the back of his head with his left hand, rose at command. He stammered a bit before catching his balance. The nobleman waved his blade slightly, suggesting Sigeric walk in that direction.
“I’ve got him,” yelled the nobleman. A few of the shipwreck survivors appeared out of the wilderness, some nursing their wounds.
“You saw how he made fresh water. Start digging,” the nobleman commanded to the men. “Thank you for that little trick. Now start walking.”
Sigeric felt the fires of rage burning in his soul. He would not be captured again.
“Andak kar,” Sigeric yelled as he smacked the sword out of the nobleman’s hand and hoisted him over his head. He threw the nobleman into the hole he had been digging and ran for the wilderness. The weakened crew hadn’t the energy to pursue as they watched him vanish into the dense green jungle that bordered their home only a few short miles away, the city of Barat.
Alien leaves cut at Sigeric’s flesh as he dashed through the dense foliage, leaping over fallen trees and narrow streams. One such stream that blocked his advance had a steep embankment that required more than will; luckily a sturdy sapling jutted from the embankment’s edge, a rescuing limb reaching out to help him move forward without slowing. He hadn’t a clue where he was going. Further from the beach and his would be again captors, was goal enough. It became harder for Sigeric to breathe; he could feel his breath becoming deeper, needy. A moment’s pause could be all it took to end his maddened dash for freedom, and he knew he couldn’t spare it. With clenched teeth he marched on, motivated by survival.
A clearing opened in the jungle. Sigeric felt the sun assault his bare back. He remembered the cloud filled skies of the steppes, his home, and a sorrow filled his soul. It was all too much a reminder he was far from home. His memories brought no reprieve. Sigeric began to feel extremely lost. All around him the same foreign green reached to the sky. It was as if he left the small clearing, he would be forever lost. He couldn’t choose which way to run. If he chose wrong, it could lead him back to the beach. Hopelessness squeezed his lungs, his breath quickened. He pulled at his hair and then it came to him, an overwhelming sense of peace. He knelt only momentarily, long enough to pray to Haabardin, the bear god.
His vigor renewed, Sigeric continued to rush forward through the jungle, forward into a fishing net. The force of the net stopping his run sent him crashing to the ground.
“Got him,” yelled a man’s voice Sigeric could not see.
Sigeric’s right arm was tightly bound to his head. He lay at the foot of a tall but narrow tree. His legs were free, but the entrapment of his upper half left him unable to make a go for it. He writhed on the ground like a captured beast; he even growled like one.
“Alright boys, let us have a look at what we have here.” Sigeric stopped his struggle to see his captor. This man was different than the men from the ship. He was finely armored with steel plating and chain. The armor was near the level of craftsmanship required of an Antol boy before apprenticing. His sword wasn’t in a scabbard. It was tied around his waist with only a sliver of leather holding it in place. Sigeric had no doubt he was showing off his strange golden blade with odd symbols etched into its face. The craftsmanship was strange. In some areas the blade was narrow and in others quite thick. It interested Sigeric, making him forget he was wrapped in a net in some strange land and that the swords owner was his captor.
“You’re a large one. What are you doing out here in the jungle,” asked the plated man, his voice muffled by his helmet.
“Dreyuger lin,” Sigeric growled.
The man froze and slowly lifted his helm from his head. He was a handsome man. His face wore a neatly trimmed short beard. His hair was rich black and wavy. His skin was a darker shade than Sigeric’s and the others Sigeric had seen. Everything about this man was strange to Sigeric.
“Akra be praised. You are from the steppes of Antol?” The man’s mouth was stuck open in awe.
“To hell with your Akra, Zadig. Don’t be spitting your whore’s name around me,” said another man nearby, obviously part of the group responsible for Sigeric’s current state.
Sigeric noticed the anger in Zadig’s face. It caused a tremor that vibrated the golden sword of which Zadig was gripping the hilt. Sigeric was no longer scared of what could be. His fate was with Haabardin.
“This man is to be taken to my residence at once. Tell no one what you saw here,” said Zadig. He looked down at Sigeric, “We will be great friends. You’ll see.”
The men hoisted Sigeric off the ground, removed the netting and bound his wrists tightly with rope. The walls of Barat were only yards away in the direction Sigeric was running before being captured. The beach wasn’t the only thing Sigeric had to be careful of.
The great walls of Barat were the color of the sands at the beach, a light brown. Green roots of the wilderness slithered up the walls like veins under transparent skin, clinging to the structure. Tall trees hung over the wall in some areas, but mostly the city was in a man-made clearing, free of the surrounding wilderness. As Sigeric approached the passage into the city, he noticed strange colored furs of orange and green being stretched and sold by merchants wearing thin fabrics around their face and shoulders. Some of the women inspecting the hides were completely nude, only vaguely hidden by outfits completely made of the strange cloth dyed in colors of deep blues and pinks.
“Welcome to Barat man of the steppes,” said one of the captors. “Pretty aint she?”
Zadig stepped to the front of the group and greeted a man who like a large portion of the people here, looked similar to Zadig. Sigeric thought it strange that the rest of his captors and the heavily armored men patrolling this city were all of fair skin.
Zadig shook the hand of the man he was speaking with and returned back to the group.
“Okay. Let’s get him to my home,” said Zadig. He grabbed Sigeric’s arm, personally escorting him.
As Sigeric made his way through the city, he continued to observe this strange land. The city floor was mostly dirt. Sand stones made up the paths between buildings that looked to be made of mud dried solid. A man passed them holding a leash with a large orange beast attached to it. Its snout was muzzled. Black and white stripes ran across its back and down its sides and its tail swayed from side to side in a hypnotic way. Sigeric noticed scars where claws should be on its large paws. Its yellow eyes connected with Sigeric’s and it echoed a hollow rumbling in its throat at him.
“Here we are,” said Zadig pulling a large metal ring from somewhere in his armor. The ring had many little trinkets shaped like nails. They jingled loudly; it amused Sigeric. Zadig placed one of the objects into a hole in the door and turned, causing the door to rumble. It was all so strange to Sigeric. “Please come inside.”
Inside the home, there was little but weapons and armors lying on worn tables and chairs. The floor was just as dirt as the ground outside and it smelled strange, like stagnant water.
“It won’t be long before they find out you are here. I believe I know how you came to be here man of the steppes. There was rumor that some men were hired by the capital to search for slaves that would help their war efforts. My guess is you are one of them, which would mean either they are back and you got away, or you killed them and ran. I don’t care which to be honest. I’m as much a slave in my own home as you are. I’m sure you don’t understand me, but you must know I am your friend. The enemy of the empire is a friend of mine. I won’t let them have you. A slaver caravan leaves tomorrow. I will smuggle you into it. That’s the best I can do to get you far from their hands.”
Zadig looked to the ground and sighed.
“I’m sorry my friend.”
Someone knocked loudly at the door, interrupting Zadig’s heart to heart with Sigeric.
“Captain Zadig,” said the voice on the other side. “The bastard wants a word with you. He asked for you personally.
“Shit,” said Zadig. “Word traveled fast.”
Zadig unfastened his chest plate and removed the chain underneath. He was clad only in leather leggings, a brown and worn tunic, and his golden sword.
“I will return shortly,” He paused, “I hope.”
Zadig left the home and closed the door which made the rumbling noise once more after closing. Sigeric quickly jumped up and tried to open it to no success. He scanned the room and found no way of escape. He was completely trapped once more; only this time he was bound only by rope and surrounded by weaponry. Sigeric made use of a dull long sword that rest propped up against a table, wedged between the table and a chair. It took some effort but he was able to cut through his bindings. There was still no escape, but now he had hope…and dull steel.
After only a short while Sigeric heard the clashing of metal outside. Someone was fighting and it sounded like there was more than one opponent. The fighting ceased and the door rumbled once more. Sigeric was too large for any of the armor but he held a long sword in each hand that he sharpened with the time he had alone inside. He was poised in front of the door with his arms raised, ready to strike.
The door opened slowly, pushed open by Zadig’s back. He had his golden blade raised in defense as a fair skinned man approached. Sigeric hesitated to strike Zadig. It was dishonorable to strike a man in the back and although he didn’t understand him, there was something about Zadig’s tone that calmed Sigeric. He felt like Zadig meant no harm.
The fair skinned man lunged at Zadig but it was futile. Zadig hopped backward only inches, arching his back and hunching over slightly. The enemy’s blade fell just short of Zadig’s torso. Zadig brought the golden blade down, severing the man’s limb at the shoulder with such speed and ease that he quickly snapped the sword back up and split the man’s chin in two, sending him backward to die, choking on his own blood.
Zadig turned and noticed the large man standing only feet behind him, no longer in bondage and now wielding two blades raised in the air.
“Wait! I mean you no harm. Helping you seemed to be the best reason to start the revolution friend,” said Zadig. He lowered his blade to show Sigeric he meant no harm.
Sigeric didn’t understand Zadig but lowering his blade was universal language for I don’t want to fight you. Sigeric still questioned Zadig’s sincerity and motioned for Zadig to back away. Understanding, Zadig walked backward, leaving room for Sigeric to step outside. As he did, Sigeric was now aware of the battle taking place outside. The dark skinned men with their lack of armor were at war with the fair skinned men who earlier patrolled the city. The fair skinned men looked to be winning. Their enemies were fleeing the city and most of the dead that lay on the floor were of Zadig’s people. Sigeric noticed a decapitated man sitting up against one of the mud homes, his head was lying feet away, the nose snuggled in the rear of another corpse.
“How fate could allow such insult after death,” Sigeric thought.
“My people would rather be cleaned from this world than live under the heel of evil,” said Zadig. “Come, I’ll show you where to run.”
Sigeric could tell Zadig was trying to help him. It was the first sign of kindness he had be given since he was taken from the steppes. He knew he had to follow Zadig.
Men came at them from either side. One man approached Sigeric as Zadig had three making their way to him. Sigeric wanted to keep Zadig alive. He charged at the man nearest to him and plunged both blades into the man’s belly at the same point. Sweeping each blade in opposite directions, he cleaved the man in two; his innards fell between the two halves on the ground. Without wasting a moment, Sigeric threw one of the blades. The sword nearly laid waste to Zadig, impaling one of the three men approaching him instead.
Zadig countered one of the remaining two men’s attacks and spun around, removing the man’s head with the golden blade. Sigeric was impressed with Zadig’s strange style of combat. It was quick and his movements were fluid like. The last of the enemies turned and ran but without heavy armor, Zadig was too fast. He quickly caught the man, grabbing his shoulder and impaling him with his sword. The gold of the blade was beautiful to Sigeric, even when bathed in the red of blood and jutting forth from a man’s chest.
As the two of them reached an opening in the wall only large enough for men to crawl through, Zadig stopped to catch his breath. He pointed his sword at the opening.
“Go through there and follow the road. You’ll find your way out of these lands. I have to help my people fight the enemy that strangles Barat.”
Sigeric dropped down without hesitation and squeezed through the opening. The stone scraped his shoulders; he was too large to make it through unscathed. Blood lightly streamed down his shoulders, a low price for freedom. He waited for Zadig to follow. When he didn’t come through the portal, Sigeric ducked down to look through the opening. All he could see through the smoke, dust, and blood was the golden sword dancing through the air, sending sparks and blood into the air as it clashed into blade and bone, the song of war.