Skyterror

Skyterror

A Story by Mathijs
"

The first little tale that I wrote, which was quite a while ago. It's told like a traditional fairy tale, but done my way. It's far from perfect, but it does give some insight on my style.

"

Once upon a time, there was a village amidst countless trees in the highlands. In this village, and those surrounding it, there was a tale that spoke of mystical creature of times gone by. This mystical creature was said to be the last of it's ancient stock, which was comforting to many, as it would imply that it was a memento of a time that had gone by long before history would be recorded.


The creature was known as the great 'Skyterror', which was a title it lived up to, for it was said it rained down terror from the skies. With enormous wings and beak, it soared through the clouds un-seen, before it would suddenly swoop down and crash through the roofs of castles and fortresses, devouring the unprepared with ease, or simply pick off groups of travelers that passed by. It was widely believed the tale was invented to keep the military on their toes, or to remind the mighty that no matter how many walls are built around them, one can never outmatch the wrath of the Sky's Terror, which would be a metaphor for the divine unquestionable hand of god.


Only shreds of this legend remain, which was regretful for the village among the trees as signs believed to herald the gargantuan avian's return were seen. Several military camps nearby had been raided, and it couldn't have been the barbarian raiders that also made their home in the thick forest, as their camps too had been assaulted, all of them left without survivors, and with massive holes in their roofs.


These were dark times, and no one dared to venture out to the canyon where the fabled monster was said to have made it's home. At least, that was until one night, a young guardsman could take it no longer, as he sat in the local tavern wallowing over his brother and sister who were both noble soldiers fallen to the sky's terror. "No more!" he chanted for all the village to hear, and proclaimed that he would avenge his beloved siblings, as they surely did not deserve such a cruel fate.


The guardsman set out, and was cheered on by many fellow villagers, but as happy as they were to encourage him, they dared not join and aid him. It would have to be so, the guardsman felt, and the guardsman traveled north; the direction of the primordial canyons of Malachia, where the Skyterror was said to sit atop his perch. A long journey was ahead, but word of his efforts quickly spread through the land.


His trail took him past a cathedral that stood mighty and tall on a hill, watching over the lands below. As he passed, an equally as mighty looking knight approached him. The knight told the guardsman that he had heard of the holy quest to avenge the good people that fell to the evil Skyterror, and as it was his duty to serve all that was sacred, he agreed to join the guardsman in his quest. And so, the two continued forth further north.


The guardsman and the Crusader descended the Cathedral's hill, and quickly found themselves in the great hillside city's outskirts, known for it's flourishing markets. There, as the two rested and gathered supplies, they were approached by a merchant, who also, like the Crusader, had heard of the quest to bring down the Skyterror. The merchant said that he would gladly join them in this journey, as it was said the ancient beast's bones were made of pure silver, and he wished to claim them. The guardsman agreed, and the three journeyed further.


The guardsman, the Crusader and the Merchant passed through the pines that stood on the border to Malachia, which had them all wary, for this forest was known for it's dangerous wildlife. But where there are beasts, there are hunters, and the three were met by one, who said he wished to aid them in bringing down the ultimate beast of prey, and allow him to take for himself the skin of the Skyterror. The guardsman agreed, and the four passed into the red-golden barren hills of Malachia.

Malachia was a place where people do not settle, for water and food was extremely scarce here. And the tall spires and rocky cliffs made it hard for ground-bound people to traverse. This did not stop the guardsman, the Crusader, the Merchant and the Hunter, though, as they marched down their path, which now laid clear in front of them. They were nearly there, at the heart of Malachia, where it was said the Skyterror had made his lair, but found that it was hidden amidst a large maze of canyons and cliffs, and they did not know the way.


The four contemplated a solution, but did not find one, either they turn back now or try and likely die. Then, atop the maze's rocky walls, stood a vague red figure, holding a spear as it looked down at the men. The Skyterror was not the only fabled creature that was said to live in this world, for this red figure, whose feet were talons, and whose hands were attached to wings rather than arms, and had a beak where most others had a snout. The guardsman knew this, for his late brother and sister journeyed close to the realm of Malachia often, and told him many stories.


The feathered one yelled down at the men, asking for their business in this barren land, as surely, they risked their lives by coming here. The Crusader confidently yelled back that the feathered spearman must leave, and that they were on a holy quest. The featered man atop the cliffs did not leave, however, and said that his name was the Red Raptor, and this was his home. The Red Raptor asked as well, what this quest implied, if it was so important for these men to risk their lives over.


The guardsman told his story, and the Red Raptor said that he too was after the Skyterror, for the monster's wings were far more brilliant and mighty than his, and claimed that he deserved such wings far more than the Skyterror did, and offered to join the five, and lead them through the rocky maze, which he could easily observe from above. All he wished for in exchange, was the wings of this terrible beast.


And so, the five ventured into the canyon, which had countless corridors, and twice as much turns! It seemed to go on endlessly, and they had marched through for a long time, but they simply could not stop or go back now; they would have to see it through, no matter how hard it was or how long it took.


The Red Raptor did not tire, and loyally lead the men through the maze. Then, the Merchant noticed a brilliant glinster in the wall, and upon closer inspection saw a large gemstone stuck in it. He quickly stopped, and started carving at it with his trowel. The four did not notice, and marched onwards.


Then, the hunter noticed the bones of an unknown beast stretch across the ground, and a skull like that would be a great addition to his garb! The hunter, like the Merchant, halted to collect the boney frame's literal headpiece, while the three others marched on.


Having loyally followed the stranger and the guardsman, the Crusader felt something he had not felt in a long time, something he would not be able to put into words. The road went two ways, and the Raptor went left, with the guardsman following. But doing that felt very wrong, as if god himself gave him a sign, and so, the Crusader went right.

Now, the Red Raptor and the guardsman ventured onwards, and eventually made it to a large set of stairs that led up to a plateau. This, the Red Raptor said, was the Skyterror's perch, and upon it sat the great ancient beast himself. It would have to be so. The Guardsman halted, and truly realized that he was very tired and alone. He said he would rest for a moment, to recuperate and await his companions. Next to the stairs was a small opening in the canyon walls, where he decided to lay down, safe from the merciless sun, and wait.


The Red Raptor waited as well, but as time passed, he could not resist but head up the stairs in advance. As he reached the perch, his eyes widened as the Skyterror was right there, in front of him, unmoving and likely hibernating.

The Red Raptor sneaked forth, planning to take the creature's wings while it slept. This plan fell short, however, as the Red Raptor's breathing stopped, and fell to the ground with a pierced heart. The Hunter had slain him within an unexpected moment. The Hunter himself decided to not only make a cloak from the Skyterror's brilliant feathers, but a set of boots from the Skyterror's legendary wings as well.


The Hunter passed the Raptor's remains, and sneaked further, before stopping in his tracks as well, his heart also became pierced, and he fell to the ground as well. The Merchant had slain him, for he decided to not only sell the Skyterror's silver bones to the great kings of Brimstone, but also sell the Skyterror's brilliant feathers to the ritualistic monks of Deadstill, and finally sell the Skyterror's wings to the avian hunter-tribes that lived in Malachia, of which the Red Raptor was part of.


The Merchant felt euphoric as he imagined the infinite wealth all these people would grant him, but as much as he had planned, he did not plan for what would happen next; which was that he would share the fate of the two men before him, after which he fell to the ground as well. The Crusader had found his way to the perch last, and had bore witness to the actions of the three men before him, and struck them down with a just heart.


The Crusader took a deep breath, as it seemed he was the only one deserving to fight this evil. The Red Raptor gave in to envy, the Hunter gave in to pride, and the Merchant gave in to greed. It all lead them straight to their demise by one another's hand, while the Guardsman, who had gathered them all to join him on his quest, was nowhere to be found.

The Crusader would be the the chosen to take down this evil monster, and such was god's divine will. He approached the creature, and it did not wake up. Perfect. As he closed in, he realized just how ugly and silly this hellspawn of a beast looked. A creature that looked this stupid would be a mockery to the rest of the world, for this world was an incredible one, and a blessed one. He raised his claymore high, and felt merciful, as he swung it downwards with all his might towards the sleeping creature's neck. In that moment, he felt a surge of emotion flow over him; relief, happiness, enlightenment. He was a hero, and god recognized it.


His blade had cut the creature's neck, but that sentence would be far more accurate were the word 'barely' inserted in it, for the blade had barely cut the creature's neck. It's eyes opened, and it raised itself upwards, towering twice as high as the Crusader. It's beak was silly, and it's body was rugged and scruffy, while it's wings looked slick and smooth, as if these body parts did not belong together. The Crusader could not believe it,for how could such a silly creature stand against all that was right and holy and just? The Skyterror answered that question with ease, as it's silver bones held strong, his brilliant feathers were like iron, and his legendary wings could split an oak in two, and now the creature opened it's large maw, and bit the Crusader in twain. The Skyterror spent the rest of the evening carefully eating the men that had come for him, leaving only their bones and their clothing behind, never realizing why they came to him, and even if he knew, he would likely not understand. And that was that, really.


I am often asked about what happened to the Guardsman, and in all honesty; I do not know. However, I am of the belief that he found his way home- probably giving up on wanting to kill some animal to make two dead people proud, as otherwise there would be no one left to tell the tale that you, dear reader, are reading right now.

© 2017 Mathijs


Author's Note

Mathijs
Examples and suggestions are very welcome if you notice something I could've done better.

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

130 Views
Added on February 11, 2017
Last Updated on February 11, 2017
Tags: Fairy tale, Adventure, Hunter, Merchant, Crusader, Skyterror, Malachia, Fantasy, Wrath, Greed, Pride, Envy, Judgement, Realism

Author

Mathijs
Mathijs

Nijmegen, Netherlands



About
There's nothing in the world that feels better than to look at things and just describe what they make me feel, and string those feelings together to turn them into a tale. I'm very new to sharing it .. more..