Welcome to the eleventh installment of the Glatorian Chronicles series! This story stars Stronius as he and a fellow Skrall are hunted by a mysterious monster.
As with the other GC stories, here's a brief summary of what the GC is about:
The Glatorian Chronicles is a series of Bionicle fanfiction short stories/short epics that star each of the twelve Glatorian characters released as sets in 2009. All are written in first person point of view from the point of view of the starring Glatorian. Each story is completely independent of the others, so a new reader can jump in at any point in the series with little-to-no confusion on the reader's part.
If you wish to read the previous ten GC stories, you can find links to them in my library here.
And with that out of the way, I now present to y'all the eleventh GC, Obsidian Among the Frost:
As a special forces Skrall, it was unfitting for me to run away from any battle. It was disgraceful, dishonorable, and could result in a loss of respect from the soldiers I commanded. Moreover, I had a name – Stronius – and named Skrall never, ever ran from battle.
The fact was, though, that I and my lieutenant (who hadn’t done anything to earn a name, unlike me) could not defeat this beast. My club was unable to pierce its hide and my lieutenant’s sword and buzz saw shield couldn’t even scratch it. We could be forgiven for temporarily retreating in order to devise a new plan against it.
As I and my lieutenant sat behind a boulder, doing our best to keep quiet lest the monster hear us, I recollected how we had gotten to this point. Perhaps there was a secret to defeating this monster hidden in the past, though I doubted it.
A few hours earlier, I’d led a battalion of Skrall on an attack on the Ice Valley, which was the only thing standing between us and the pool of silvery liquid that our tribe coveted. There we’d run into the Fire army, which had wrest control of the silver pool from the Ice army. It’d been a fierce battle, one to make any warrior proud, but due to an unforeseen assault from the Water army, we were forced to retreat. And during the assault, my lieutenant and I were separated from the rest of the battalion.
Normally, that wouldn’t be an unsalvageable situation. My lieutenant and I were strong enough to survive in the Northern Frost on our own for a while. It wouldn’t be hard for us to find the rest of the battalion and rejoin them. My men were probably looking for us even now. I knew they were loyal to me and would never abandon me unless they were sure I was dead.
We therefore faced only one problem: A monster – bigger than the two of us combined – was trying to kill us.
Where it came from, I couldn’t say. One moment, my lieutenant and I were walking cautiously and carefully through the snow, keeping an eye out for enemy soldiers that might be waiting in ambush; the next, this beast just came out of nowhere and attacked us both. We’d just barely managed to fend it off and retreat, although it was only a matter of time before the monster found us.
As we sat there, I remembered with a repressed shudder what the beast looked like. It resembled a Snaj – giant snow beasts that towered over all Skrall – but it was even bigger than that and had deep black armor. It’d had dozens of small spikes running down its back and a long, even spikier tail that could cut through stone. Its head had resembled the slanted, narrow head of a Snaj, but it’d had two tusks protruding from its mouth and a large horn sticking out of its head.
Also, its armor was incredibly thick. No matter how many times I’d hit with my club – and I’d hit it dozens of times – I couldn’t even so much as dent it. Its armor was even harder than rock, or so it seemed, anyway.
Neither of us knew what the beast was. We’d never seen or heard of anything like it before. My lieutenant had suggested that it might be some Northern Frost beast we’d never seen before, but I disagreed. Whatever this thing was, it didn’t look like a natural beast. It looked like a monstrosity; a creature, in other words, that shouldn’t exist.
Whatever it was, we couldn’t kill it. It probably could kill us, though, which didn’t make me very happy.
I peered around the boulder and looked at the surrounding area. I saw rocks, snow, mountains, and cliffs, but no monster. I didn’t even see any paw prints, but I wasn’t dumb. It was probably hiding, waiting for us to come out. It was possible that it’d left, but that seemed unlikely. Such a vicious monster wouldn’t give up that easily. At least, if I knew that if I were a beast like it, I wouldn’t run away just because my prey had disappeared.
“What do we do, commander?” asked my lieutenant anxiously. “Is that beast still out there?”
“No,” I said, shaking my head. “But we should still wait. It might be a trap.”
“As you command, Stronius,” my lieutenant answered. “I’m just anxious to return to our allies.”
I looked at him, unconvinced. “Yes, I’m sure that is all you want to do. I suppose your son has nothing to do with this?”
“Well, that too, commander sir,” said the lieutenant, somewhat sheepishly. “I mean, I haven’t seen him for months now. I’m hoping we can go home to-“
“Be quiet,” I snapped. “Think about your own survival for once. Or have you forgotten what happens to Skrall with preoccupied minds during battle?”
“Yes, sir,” said my lieutenant. “I’ll stop thinking about my son.”
I sighed. My lieutenant had just recently mated with a member of the Sisters of the Skrall. She had given birth to a male and in accordance with tradition the male baby had been given over to us, the male Skrall. The infant was currently in the care of some Rock Agori, who oversaw our younglings while their parents were off to war. When he was old enough, my lieutenant’s son would join the war effort, which was the only useful thing that came out of mating with the Sisters.
The only reason I knew about any of this was because my lieutenant talked about his son constantly. I’d never had a child before, so I didn’t understand his fascination with his only child. What was so interesting about a baby that couldn’t even hold a knife? Perhaps it was just something that fathers did, although it seemed foolish to me just the same.
I disregarded that thought and focused on our situation. If we couldn’t kill the beast, then we had but one option in order to ensure our survival, although I disliked it. Still, I wanted to live to see the end of this war and my lieutenant wanted to see his son again, so my lieutenant would have to agree regardless of his personal feelings.
“Lieutenant, I am about to ask you to do something very un-Skrall-like,” I said to him.
“What do you mean, commander?” asked my lieutenant.
I looked around, feeling sheepish and embarrassed, but then I looked him in the eyes as seriously as I could and said, “We’re going to have to run for it. We can’t kill the beast. As much as I hate to admit it, retreat is our only option.”
“Run away?” said my lieutenant in surprise. “What will Lord Torxus say if he hears about this?”
“Do you want to see your son again, the one you keep blabbering on about?” I asked.
“Well, yes, of course, commander sir,” said my lieutenant. “But-“
“Then follow my lead,” I said. “That’s an order.”
My lieutenant nodded, but he still didn’t seem happy about it. I didn’t blame him, but right now our survival was a bit more important than our honor. We could worry about that later, after we were no longer threatened by an invincible monster.
I looked around the boulder again and saw nothing. “The coast’s clear. On the count of three, we’ll run for it. One . . . two . . . three!”
We ran from behind the boulder and across the clearing as fast as we could. I looked to the left and right for any sign of the monster, but saw nothing. That was both good news and bad. Good because the monster might really be gone. Bad because the monster could be hiding, waiting for the right moment to strike. We were taking a big risk, but I’d taken similar risks in the past and had come out of them all right, so I never doubted our survival for even a moment.
When we were about halfway across the clearing, however, something huge and black slammed into me. I was sent flying into my lieutenant and we both went sprawling in the snow. After we untangled ourselves, we looked up and saw the monster standing before us. It looked just as I remembered it, although it looked angrier. Perhaps it was angry that we had outwitted it so far.
Whatever the case, I didn’t have time to think about it. The beast charged at us, but fortunately, we managed to get out of the way in time to avoid being impaled by its horn. The creature lashed out with its claws, which I managed to block with my club. Somehow my weapon got caught on the monster’s claws and, when the monster pulled its claw back, my club went flying out of my hands, landing several feet away from me, well out of my reach.
Now I wasn’t totally defenseless here. I had my Thornax launcher, after all. But my club had been my primary weapon. I wasn’t as skilled in Thornax launchers as I was in smashing things with my club. Of course, my club hadn’t been useful against the monster in the first place, but I still felt vulnerable without it.
The beast bent down to leap at me when my lieutenant suddenly jumped on top of it. Startled, I watched as my lieutenant raised his sword and brought it down on the monster’s head, yelling all the while, “For my son!”
To my amazement, his sword actually pierced the monster’s skull. The monster shrieked in pain and threw my lieutenant off, who fell onto the thick, soft snow. I quickly backed away as the monster bucked and acted crazy, blood running down both sides of its face. Seeing it in pain like that brought me satisfaction, for I was sure the battle was ours.
Then, to my horror, the monster shook its head and the sword went flying out of its skull. I just barely managed to dodge the flying blade, which embedded itself in the stone wall behind me. Then I looked at the monster and saw its skull regenerating. Soon the only clue that a sword had been in its head was the dried up blood on its face, and even that seemed to be disappearing rapidly.
So apparently the monster could heal itself. I’d never heard of a creature like that before, which again made me wonder just what this monster was. If there were any more of it out there . . . even I, a mighty warrior, shuddered to think of what they could accomplish if someone tamed them or if they chose to leave their mountain homes and attack the outside world.
I’d no more time to ponder this, however, for the beast had completely recovered by now. It looked around and, as soon as it spotted my lieutenant, bellowed in rage, in a roar like I’d never heard before. It chilled me to the bone, but I acted quickly just the same.
Raising my Thornax launcher, I shouted, “Die, monster!”
I squeezed the trigger, sending a ripe Thornax flying at the monster. The Thornax exploded upon contact with the monster’s hide, although it only seemed to stun the monster rather than hurt it, for the creature didn’t screech in pain.
The explosion gave me just enough time to run to my ally’s side, picking up my club as I ran along.
“We’ve got to get out of here while it is distracted!” I told him. “The thing can’t die. You saw it regenerate, didn’t you?”
“But we’re Skrall warriors,” my lieutenant protested. “True Skrall never run from a fight!”
“And did you know that true Skrall also never fight an enemy they can’t beat?” I asked harshly. “I understand your concerns, but we have no choice. Unless you don’t want to see your son again, that is.”
My lieutenant looked like he wanted to argue, but he just nodded and said, “Yes, sir. You walk and I will follow.”
So we began running away, but the monster seemed to have recovered from the Thornax I’d launched at it. I heard it roar and, looking over my shoulder, saw the monster chasing us. It was fast. Clearly, it was used to running in the snow. I’d no doubt that it’d catch us quickly, and when it did, we’d both be dead meat.
I looked around again and saw a cliff up ahead. A plan formed in my mind, a plan that, if it worked, would get rid of that monster once and for all. And if it failed . . . well, my lieutenant would never see his son again and I’d never see the Rock Tribe’s inevitable victory over the other tribes.
“This way!” I said, running toward the cliff.
“Are you crazy?” my lieutenant asked as we ran. “What-“
“Be quiet and follow my orders,” I told him as we stopped at the edge of the cliff.
I peered over the side. It was a long, long way down to the bottom. No doubt a fall from here would be fatal. If my plan worked, there would be something dead down there soon, but it wouldn’t be either of us.
We turned around and saw the monster running at us. Within a few seconds, I knew it would reach us, but we still had to wait. The timing needed to be just right before we could act.
And then – when it was only a few feet from us – the monster leapt at us. It flew through the air, claws outstretched, roaring loudly. It was coming almost too fast to dodge . . . almost.
“Duck!” I told my lieutenant.
We both fell to the ground as the monster sailed overhead. Unable to stop its trajectory, the creature flew over the edge of the cliff and disappeared. I heard a roar of shock and anger, followed by a loud crash. Then there was silence.
My lieutenant and I stood up. We looked over the edge of the cliff and saw exactly what I thought we’d see: The broken body of the monster lying on the hard, icy ground hundreds of feet below us. It lay in a pool of its own blood, coloring the snow red. The monster’s healing abilities didn’t seem to be working, but I didn’t intend to stick around and find out if they were delayed or something.
“Let’s go,” I said, turning and walking away from the cliff. “The monster is finished.”
“What a brilliant plan, sir,” said my lieutenant as he fell into line behind me. “Though I still wonder what that beast was and where it came from. The ability to heal itself is something I’ve never seen in any creature, whether in Bota Magna or in the Northern Frost.”
I looked toward the north and said, “Perhaps it is a creature from neither, lieutenant. Remember what the silver pool does to those that touch it; it transforms or destroys. Maybe this monster came into contact with some of the stuff and was mutated by it.”
“Whatever it was, I’m just glad it’s dead,” said my lieutenant as he glanced over his shoulder. “And I’m also glad it is a single creature. Imagine a whole species of such monsters, commander. That’d be a nightmare.”
I didn’t look at him as we walked. “Yes. I have imagined what more of those creatures would be like . . . and it is as you say: A nightmare.”
Comments, criticisms, reviews, and so on are all welcome .
Also, creds go to Cederak, who not only looked over this story for me before I posted it but even came up with the title.
Edited by TNTOS, Jan 25 2014 - 07:21 PM.