Chapter 1: The Journey.
-My name is Lyonatius Granzion, the King of the city of Zain, and ruler of the land of Disdain. Back when I was a young man, no older than about ten years old, my kingdom fell. It was taken over and swept away in a civil war that started as a Coup to overthrow the king, my father.
The land was in great chaos for many years, and the only way I could survive was to flee for my life with my bodyguards, where I was placed under the care of my uncle who lived in his manor out in the woods a few miles to the southeast of my castle. He owned a large mansion with several acres of secluded land, with servants and a loyal group of soldiers that followed his every word. Why he did not live with my family at our main castle is a story for another time.
However, my time there with my Uncle was not a peaceful time. He was a cruel and harsh man, and he made me fight and train every single day I was there with him to hone my combat and strategy skills. My uncle would assign one of his loyal men to spar with me. At first it was basic combat, hand to hand, sword fighting, archery. But as the years went on I was placed in melee arena battles against up to ten men at once, and I would have to battle to the death. Obviously, I did not lose.
Other days he would have me go hunting in the woods to catch and kill our supper, using nothing but my bare hands. If I happened to fail, we didn't eat, including the other guests and servants. This meant that it was not only my life that depended on that food, but everyone's lives within the manor.
When our kingdom fell we vowed to take it back ourselves, with our own hands, with our own power. I hated my stay there, but I understood the necessity of the harsh training. My uncle didn't just train me to be a king, or a warrior, or a leader, he evolved me into a living god that other nations would come to fear. No one would try to take the Kingdom from me once I was on the throne.
And that brings us to my final test. The test that made me who I am today.
One day my uncle summoned me into his office to perform yet another one of his many tasks, just like any other day. I walked through the long halls and bowed my head to the floor, placing a hand over my heart as I fell to one knee, this is what I normally did while in his presence when meeting for the first time. I would not look at him or rise majority of the time unless he told me to do so. "What would you have me do, my lord?" I asked in a calm low voice.
My uncle was a drunk and would often times have raging fits, but today he was calm, but still a bit sullen. He was slouched in his great big wooden chair and was slowly twirling a gold coin between his fingers in one hand, while his other hand was supporting his chin that was resting on his balled up fist. He was a burly man of muscle, he had a clean-shaven chin and a small mustache, and a receding hairline that was pulled tight into a neat long brown ponytail that ran down his back. If you saw us together you would not think us to be related, because I had pale blond hair that was borderline silver that ran all the way down my back. Due to my name, my behavior, and my long mane of hair, I was given the nickname "Lyo The Savage Lion".
My uncle wasted no time in outlining my mission. " You may rise, boy. The villagers just south of us have been complaining about a pest that keeps eating their crops... I was going to ignore it, but the pest has moved on to eating the livestock as well... It has gone from being a small annoyance and is now starting to become a big problem..."
"I don't understand, my lord. You want me to exterminate the pest? This is... different from my normal tasks."
"Hmm. Are you questioning my orders, boy?"
"Of course not, my lord. I will do as you ask. What would you have me do? What type of creature will I be hunting?"
My uncle smirked, there was a sinister gleam in his eye. He stopped flipping the coin between his fingers and leaned forward, placing the coin on his desk and clenching it tightly between his fingers.
"Cows, horses, sheep, even people have began to go missing. Sometimes dozens gone in a single night. This vile beast has been terrorizing the land for decades now..." he started.
My eyes went wide. I suddenly realized this was not a normal mission after all. My heart rate increased. This would be exciting. If this creature was hunting cows for this long, or even people for that matter, it meant that I would not be hunting a normal animal. It had to be a lot bigger than the average predator. I looked at my uncle and my eyes focused with intent.
"The locals call it 'The Windgod'. No one has ever gotten a clear look at the beast, but we think it is a dragon of some kind. We know it is big, casts a large shadow when it flies, and its a whole lot bigger than a damn horse, that's for sure. If you see it flying you can't miss it. It has a wingspan of over twenty feet, so tracking it shouldn't be too difficult. Your mission is to slay the beast once and for all, and bring me its head... end this terror and bring peace back to the land."
"I shall do as you ask, I will not fail. Are there any leads where the beast's domain is located?" I asked.
"Further to the southeast, in the mountains of Disdain that leads towards the peak of mount Demarak. You will have to climb the peak and locate the beast's hideout. It will take you several days to get there, my servants have already prepared you warm clothing and food. Take any other extra provisions you may need. Do this, and you will prove yourself to me that you are ready to take back your home."
"Understood. Will I be going alone?" I inquired.
I wanted to grin with excitement, but I held my composure.
"I will do as you ask without fail..."
"Then you are dismissed. Show this beast who the true king of the land is..."
Chapter 2: The Encounter.
-I proceeded to gather my supplies and readied myself for my journey to slay the so called "Windgod". Part of me wanted to carry my armor separately, or even leave it behind, but what if I encountered the beast before I reached the mountain? No, I would need to be ready at all times. I knew the armor would save my life and I would need it, so I decided to continue to wear my armor until the deed was done.
I headed south towards the mountain and entered the forest behind my uncle's manor, weaving between the trees and jumping over fallen logs. I kept up a steady pace, conserving energy but still moving swiftly to reach my destination. I reached the village that was beyond the forest, where a few of the people stopped to eye me, but no one came over to talk.
I pressed on until I finally reached the base of the mountain late that night and set up camp there. I climbed the mountain, walked up steep hills, and traversed the treacherous land as I progressed up higher and higher. The air grew thin, the weather cold and harsh, but still, I pressed on. The mountain was one of the tallest I have ever seen in my life. It took me several days just to clear the main base of the Mountain, which gave me a clear view just how far I had to go to reach the top.
It was going to take me weeks to get to the peak of the Mountain where the Windgod presided. But I had heart, and I was determined to slay the beast.
After several long and cold weeks, I made it to the halfway point of the Mountain.
I had run out of food and drink, and I was in dire need of a long rest. But I knew that if I were to close my eyes, that darkness would take me and I would never open them again. So I pushed forward, still driven to complete my task.
I needed to hunt to gather more food, or slay the Windgod and return home quickly.
I began my search to see if I could find anything to eat, moving around to the side of the mountain to locate a small hidey hole where an animal might have made a domain.
And that's when it caught my eye. I saw it, flying straight towards me from the west. The sun was just overhead as it moved to set, and the bird was positioned so that I had to look directly into the sun, but I could faintly make out its shape.
I cupped a hand over my eyes and squinted. It indeed was a bird of some kind. It got closer, and I realized it was a bit bigger than I originally thought. It screeched, and its loud cry echoed throughout the mountain.
Then, it landed in front of me and I could finally see it clearly. The beast was massive. It indeed was a bird, but it stood over twenty feet tall. It was a bird that was mostly red, with streaks of gold, a white belly and a large crest atop its head.
Was this the Windgod I had to slay, or just some other giant beast that was flying near the mountain?
I readied myself and raised my sword up in front of me, gripping the hilt firmly in both hands. The beast screeched at me once more and charged forward. It jumped into the air, wings extended and talons raised. I dove to the side, armor causing sparks as I slid across the ground to safety.
The bird only missing me by a hair as I moved out of the way and slamming into the rocks behind me. The impact didn't even faze the beast. It came running at me again, jumping just as it was in range and driving its talons at my face. I swung my sword upwards to slash it, missed, as it flapped it's wings and went higher.
It was a feint attack! I was caught off guard and the beast quickly took advantage as I faltered. It dove down and sunk it's claws onto my armored chest. I yelled in agony.
The giant bird jerked back, flapping it's wings viciously as it ripped my armor clean off, shredding it to pieces as if it were paper and throwing it off the side of the cliff like discarded trash and taking my shirt with it.
I was dragged along with my armor as it was torn off from the force and tumbled to the ground, but I was alive. My bare chest was exposed to the beast, one mistake and my body would be torn just as easily as my armor was. I couldn't make the same mistake twice of letting it get close to me again.
My breastplate had done it's job in saving my life and I escaped with only a few scratches on my chest. If it had dug a few inches deeper I would have been mortally wounded. The monster bird jumped forward, talons extended to finish the job. It dove down to impale me with its deadly sharp claws while I was still on the ground.
I rolled out of the way just as it crashed into the ground. Had I been a split second late I would have been skewered. But the beast was fast and didn't waste a second. It dove at me again, this time with its razor sharp beak. I rolled once more, using the momentum to swing my sword outwards in an arc with all my might to hit it in face.
The giant bird screeched and clamped its beak down on my sword, stopping it mid-swing. It took a few steps forward and began pressing down on me, forcing my own blade down upon my face. My blade bent from the force, but the King's steel held fast! I strained with all my might, using both hands to fight back to keep my own sword from cutting into my head. I put my foot up on the bird's chest to use it as leverage to push the beast away from me, but it was just too powerful!
The bird's mouth was like steel itself, grinding against the blade, but not a single drop of blood fell, my blade wasn't even cutting into it! We were locked in a deadly grapple that would determine who lived and who died.
Today I was not going to die. I clenched my jaw, I firmly planted my boot into the earth, and with every ounce of defiance in my body I yelled at the top of my lungs.
"I WILL TEAR YOUR WINGS FROM YOUR BODY FROM END TO END! I WILL RIP YOUR HEART OUT WITH MY BARE HANDS AND SHRED IT TO PIECES WITH MY TEETH! I WILL DRINK YOUR BLOOD FROM MY GOBLET, AND PISS ON YOUR DEAD CORPSE! I AM YOUR KING!
I... WILL... NOT... LOSE!"
The foul beast looked at me as if it understood every single word, and the look of hatred in its eyes burned so deep that it almost set my soul ablaze. But no amount of hatred in this world could match my own, and as it stared into my eyes, that was when it saw me.
The real me, and it flinched because it knew it had picked a fight with the wrong man... It flared its wings and let off a screeching roar that literally shook the entire mountain and rattled my bones. I swear to the mighty heavens that I went deaf for days after that. But I saw a weakness, a moment of opportunity, and I was going to exploit it to take this beast down...
Chapter 3: Meet Your King...
- I saw an opening! The Windgod had let go of my sword and opened itself up for an attack.
I pulled my sword back, lining up my target, than with all my might, thrust my sword deep into the Windgod's body just under where its ribcage should be, then twisted the blade, and once more for good measure! The giant bird beast let off a deafening screech that shook the mountain and stumbled back.
It flapped its wings, then took off into the sky at sickening speeds. My stomach dropped. The problem was that my sword was still stuck in its side with me holding on to it, and the Windgod pulled me up with it. I held my sword with one hand as I dangled several dozen feet in the air as it twisted and jostled me around. I balled up a fist with my free hand and began to repeatedly punch the beast in the side.
It faltered from a mix of pain and blood loss and dipped towards the ground before catching itself, flapping it's wings to stay afloat. I kept up the attack, punching it harder and harder.
The giant bird then used its talon to grab me by the leg and attempted to yank me away. Had it been successful, I would have surely lost the leg, but the angle was awkward and its grip was poor. I slipped, almost letting go but alas I held fast and firm.
"You will not defeat me!" I yelled again. I used my free hand, turned it sideways, and jammed it into the beast's open wound that I had created earlier. I gripped whatever I could find and began pulling it down with all my might. Ripping and tearing through flesh, muscle and a cascade of bloody feathers, as I tore at the wound to make it bigger. Blood gushed everywhere. It was glorious!
The bird made a strange crying sound, and we both plummeted towards the ground. We hit the mountain with painful impact and both lay there dazed for what felt like days; beaten, bloody and bruised. Breathing heavy and covered in each other's blood and sweat. This was better than sex. I laughed. I literally began to laugh hard and loud.
THIS BATTLE WAS TRULY GLORIOUS!
My adrenaline spiked, my blood flowed through my veins and my heart rate went into overdrive. I loved every second of this!
I tugged at my sword to pull it free from the bird's side, yanking it out, and Very slowly I pushed myself back up to my feet, a grin creeping across my bloodied lips.
Just as I stood up, the giant bird also struggled to get its feet under itself to stand up as well. I backed up and let it rise. It's not like I'm an actual savage.
"Well fought..." I said as I congratulated my opponent.
"But as you recall, I made you a promise earlier... and I am not one to break promises. It is time for me to tear you to shreds... and I wasn't joking about eating your heart... You will die, and it will be slow, and very painful..."
My grin dropped as we both stared each other down... Eyeing one another to determine how much fight was left in us to keep going, but what the bird did not know, I could literally do this all day, or die trying.
The foul beast charged forward and swept its wings outward at me, attempting to knock me off-balance with its powerful wings, no doubt to get me back on the ground again to make me an easier target. It was a good strategy, but I was expecting such an obvious attack at this point.
I yelled with all my might, brought my sword up, and countered by swinging down and out in a slashing arc, hitting the Windgod's wing with my sword and cleaving a quarter of it off, Slicing clean through with one swift motion.
The Windgod let off a shriek of pain and reeled back. It was attempting to retreat.
What a coward! It was no longer my equal by showing such weakness. It was time to finish this...
Chapter 4: Slasher... Ripper... Tearer...
- I changed my stance, repositioning my sword to hold it down by my side and close to the ground. I charged forward, slashing upwards in an arc to cleave the Windgod from hip to shoulder.
The Windgod jumped back and dodged my attack, then countered by diving forward to peck at my face. I hopped back and slashed downwards in an angle to hit it on the beak and deflect the attack away from my face.
I attempted to take another step back to reposition myself, but the beast was still quick on its feet, even with its current injuries.
The Windgod swept its wing outward, hitting my arm and knocking me off my feet and sending a shockwave of pain throughout my entire body from the powerful blow.
My sword flew out of my hand and tumbled across the ground. I watched as it slid towards the end of the cliff and dangled there. I hit the ground, rolled with the blow, and came up on my knees, eyes locked on my sword as it dangled on the edge of the cliff.
I charged forward, hand outstretched to grab the hilt of the blade before it fell. The Windgod jumped forward and pecked at my hand. I rolled to the side to dodge the attack.
The giant bird eyed my sword, then calmly kicked my blade off the side of the cliff and watched it fall hundreds of feet below. I was impressed. The beast was truly intelligent. It removed my weapon to even the odds.
No matter, I didn't need my sword. The Windgod squatted down and screeched at me, its beak stretching wide as it let off its earth rattling cry.
I matched its cry with a roar of my own, and we both charged forward to clash in another bout.
I jumped and used my shoulder and elbow to plow into the beast's abdomen, it didn't even stumble. It pecked at me, I ducked and dodged to the side, formed my hand into a claw, lunged forward and launched my entire hand straight into the side of its eye. the beast flinched and attempted to shake me free. I grabbed on as hard as I could, and ripped the eye clean out of its socket.
The Windgod shrieked and once again attempted to retreat, but I was just getting started. I took a few steps back, crouched down and touched the ground, then lunged forward to get a running start.
I jumped into the air and landed on the Windgod's chest, it looked at me in horror with its one good eye, shock taking over as it realized it was now on the losing end of this battle. It attempted to awkwardly peck at me with its beak, but I grabbed hold of its mouth with both hands. The Windgod's powerful jaws attempting to clamp down on my head, but I wouldn't let it.
I was right where I wanted to be.
"I will rip your skull from your head and wear it as my helmet!"
I positioned both hands on its beak, one on the top, the other hand on the bottom half, and with all my might I began prying its mouth open as far as I could.
We both struggled, once again locked in a battle of survival. I roared as loud as I could, making a sound that sounded nothing like a human, as I forced its beak open and literally began to rip it from its head.
Flesh and muscle stretched as I completely tore the beak off. Blood gushed and flowed everywhere.
"You are nothing to me! I will tear your wings from your body and wear your feathers as my cape!"
The bird made a strange choking sound as it writhed in pain and stumbled backwards. I still wasn't done.
"I AM YOUR KING!"
I grabbed the bird by the side of its head, placed my other hand on its wing, then climbed up higher on top of the Windgod's shoulder. I braced my armored boot on the side of the bird's head and then began tearing its wing from the side of its body.
I needed a better grip, so I climbed onto its back, and with all the force I could muster,I pushed with my legs and pulled with my hands, ripping the wings straight from the Windgod's back; they tore free with a wild spray of blood.
That was a big mistake. The Windgod stumbled backwards once more and collapsed; we both tumbled backwards over the side of the cliff.
I held onto the Windgod's neck and we fell several feet to the next jagged cliff below. The Windgod spun through the air and hit the rock first, I landed on its soft back, but the blow still knocked the wind out of me.
We bounced off the rock, falling farther down the mountain. We rolled and tumbled off the side of another steep cliff. I hit a jagged rock and cut my side pretty bad, blood poured.
We continued to both tumble-down the steep incline until we crashed and hit the base of the mountain to meet even ground. I rolled away from the Windgod and landed on my back, looking up at the night sky, drenched in my own blood.
We both laid there for hours. Neither of us moving.
I began breathing hard as I gasped for air, attempting to catch my breath, but it felt like I broke a few ribs and it was hard to breath. This wasn't the first time this has happened, but I would survive.
I took a moment to regain my composure, then forced myself to stand on my feet. I was weak and had lost a lot of blood, but I was determined to not be defeated.
I stood over the giant bird in triumph. "Do you understand now?" I said as it struggled on the ground in pain.
" You are no god... I am the king of this land. I AM! I rule the ground, the sea, and the sky! You are nothing compared to me! NOTHING!"
I wasn't talking to the beast that lay before me, but to all those that stood in my way from taking back the throne. I was talking to those that murdered my father, killed my people, and took my home. They would all pay. I would return home one day, and they would all pay.
I kneeled next to the Windgod and ran my hand down the side of its face, then turned its head so that it would look at me.
"You fought well... But I have run out of food, and I have a promise to keep..."
I reached my hand into the wound I had cut open earlier, and began ripping it open to make it even bigger. I reached deeper inside, then pulled its beating heart out. The Windgod collapsed. The battle was finally over, the terror from the skies was dead.
Even though I was in no shape to travel, I would need to make it home to properly recover from the beating I took.
But first, I needed to survive the night...
The Windgod was only one of many of mount Demarak's deadly creatures, so I would need to move quickly if I wanted to avoid the other dangers that lurked in the darkness...
Chapter 5 - Finale: The Return Of The Future King...
-It was dark, so I would need to build a fire to survive the night.
I gathered wood and stones that I found nearby and set up a small fire. I had lost my other gear and supplies earlier during my battle, so I had to make due with what I could find from nature. I needed bandages to heal my wounds, but the only cloth I had were my own pants and the wings from the Windgod. I would not be able to sterilize and clean the torn wings, so I would have to make due with my pants.
First, I took off my armor, made my campfire, and used the heat from the flames to heat up the metal on my gauntlet until it was glowing red.
I put a stick in my mouth and bit down on it. I used the sharp pointy end of my gauntlet, picked it up with my gloved hand, and very carefully cauterized the wounds on my chest, arm and the gash in my side. I gritted my teeth and suppressed a scream as best I could, I did not want to attract any more attention to myself to the other creatures that lurked in the darkness.
Next, I grabbed the Windgod and dragged it over to the fire, using the metal pieces from my armor to smash it into the Windgod's bones to break them apart into small chunks, and tore the meat from the rest of its body. I placed the larger parts on sticks and set up a makeshift spit roast over my campfire.
The Heart and liver would be a good source of protein and iron, which would help me to recover and regain my strength. I would use the giant feathered wings as a blanket and a coat, and the rest of the meat as food for my journey home. As for the giant bird's body? It would be used to stay warm during the night, I decided to climb inside its carcass to beat the cold night weather.
The point of ripping the beast to shreds was not only because I had made a promise that I wanted to keep, but it was also a matter of surviving the harsh conditions of mount Demarak. In order to survive I would have to live off of the Windgod's corpse for the next several days while my body healed.
I spent the next four days camping there and living off the meat from the Windgod's body, then I wrapped what I could in the giant feathers for easy transportation, put out my campfire, and attempted to make my way back home the next morning.
I was still in no shape to travel, but I needed to attempt to make the journey if I wanted to truly survive.
I traversed the steep slope and made my way down the mountain. My progress was slow, but it was progress nonetheless. I reached the bottom of the mountain and entered a small forest of trees, just beyond here would be the village. I would be able to find my way home from here.
As I stumbled through the forest I began to feel uneasy, as if something was watching me. And that's when I heard the snarling. I spun around and saw two Dire Wolves standing there, teeth bared and hackles raised. The Dire Wolves began to bark and took a warning step forward, no doubt testing to see if I would fight or take flight.
I realized I was also carrying the cooked meat from the giant bird with me, perhaps they smelled it and tracked me here. I dropped the food on the ground and took up a fighting stance, knees bent, legs spread, hands forming claws so that I looked like a bear, hunched over and reading to tear these beasts to shreds if they attacked.
However, I was putting on an act. I was in no condition to fight. If they attacked, I would surely-
I heard another snarl... and another. I chanced a glance over my shoulder. Two more had flanked me. The first snarl was a distraction to make me stop to give their companions time to catch up and get behind me. I was surrounded by a total of four Dire Wolves. This was bad.
The first Dire Wolf in front of me dashed forward, barking like a rabid animal. It jumped on top of me and snapped at my face. I fell back, put my hands up on his forehead and under its neck and attempted to hold it off from biting into my face.
The second dog ran forward to join in on the assault. It jumped into the air and was coming straight at me.
The Dire Wolf flew back and hit the ground. The other two Dire wolves spun around, barking wildly into the woods.
Another Dire Wolf fell. I couldn't look up to see what was happening because I was preoccupied with the Dire Wolf that was now inches from my face.
The Dire Wolf on top of me suddenly tipped over, dead.
There was an arrow protruding from its head. I pushed the Dire Wolf off of me and looked to see who had just saved my life. It was an old man and a couple of young boys, no older than their early teens, all armed with boy and arrows.
He raised a hand and pointed his thumb behind him.
"I-I'm from the village. One of my boys saw the giant bird fall from the mountain. We've combing the area the past few days to see if we could find the body... We heard the snarling and figured the Wolves were fighting over the corpse and lucked upon you here..." The old man said.
I let off a sigh and closed my eyes.
"I'm.... A mercenary... I was hired to slay the beast. You'll find it back that way. You can have what's left... but I need the skull to prove that I killed the beast... and I would like to keep this wing draped over my shoulders as a souvenir... if that is alright with you..." I explained.
I did not want to explain that I was the missing prince. There were still people seeking for me to make sure that my bloodline ended. I wanted to play it safe.
The old man nodded his head. "Don't mention it. If you were the one to truly slay the beast, you can take whatever you want, sir! I lost my wife to that thing. I hate dragons..."
"What? No dragons..."
"It was a giant bird, not a dragon..." I corrected.
" You'll see for yourself if you head back that way." I explained as I pointed to the direction I had just come.
"I'll have my boys take what they can for food and collect the skull for you. We have horses, I can take you back to the village and help get you cleaned up. You look like you took quite the beating."
I let off a sigh of relief. "I would appreciate it." I stood to my feet, took a step forward, then collapsed as I passed out.
I don't know how long I was out, but I awoke in a soft bed back at the old man's house. He gave me food and clean clothing and helped change my bandages. After staying with them for a few days, I finally decided I was fit to travel home and let my uncle know I was alive.
I owned this old man my life, I would make sure he was handsomely rewarded for his efforts. He would become a noble in my kingdom for saving my life.
The old man gave me a bag to carry the Windgod's skull that he had cleaned and polished, which happen to be obsidian black just like its beak.
The old farmer also gave me some food and water for the rest of the journey, as well as horse, which I promised to return to him soon. It was truly more than I deserved, and despite refusing all of his kind offers, he insisted that I take them.
I headed home and was greeted by my uncle's men warmly, they all whooped and cheered and patted me on the back in congratulations for my success. And then, my uncle and his servants walked out of the house and stood before me. I climbed off of my horse and before I could say a word, everyone in the front of the house simultaneously dropped to one knee and bowed before me.
I was shocked. My uncle looked up to me and spoke.
"You are now truly our king. You are ready to lead us. You came here as just a boy, and you will leave here, as a god. Not even your father accomplished such a feat... no Granzion before you in our entire bloodline has ever killed such a beast and survived to tell the tale.
If you can slay gods, then it will be no matter for you to slay mere men. You are ready to reclaim what you lost. I will assist you in taking back your home.
My men are your men. If you would have me, I would like to continue as your advisor." He said as he bowed his head once more.
This behavior was unexpected. But I held my head high.
"We will continue as we were, and finish what we started. We will build an army, and take back our Kingdom. We will become an empire like the world has never seen before. Everyone will know my name... And I will rule the land as their king." I promised.
"ALL HAIL KING GRANZION! The Slayer of gods!" The men shouted at once as they erupted in a cheer.
This is just the beginning...
King Granzion's Story will continue. Stay tuned for future books and stories!