Authors: Max Masen
Tags: #scifi, #action, #military, #fantasy, #apocalypse, #epic, #knight
Racjack swings around to face Brandgurt and sets his
pack down. He throws the pieces of the tent that he carries off of
his back and they scatter on the uneven ground. “What do you
suggest, Brandgurt?” he asks.
“I don’t know,” Brandgurt replies weakly. He sets his
pack down also. “We’ve been travelling for almost a full day now
without rest, food, or water. We haven’t even passed a stream! It’s
“Shhh!” Sheenja quickly lunges forward and cups
Brandgurt’s mouth. Brandgurt squirms and a semblance of a voice
comes from his mouth. “Up ahead. Do you see that?” Sheenja points
to a figure ahead of them wearing a flowing white gown. It has
long, black hair that goes down almost the length of the gown.
“What- what is it?”
Racjack motions for the other two to get lower and
they go down to a crouching position. “Conceal your weapons,”
Racjack whispers. Because of the long trek, the three of them left
their spears and shields back at the camp and have taken short
swords in their places for easy maneuvering.
“Should we go check it out?” Brandgurt asks.
“Of course. We won’t be safe here unless we take care
of it now,” Racjack replies. He still stares off and his eyes trace
the path the silhouette had taken.
“I’ll go.” Sheenja steps forward, pushing his chest
out confidently. “I’m the fastest and I will easily stay
undetected.” He makes a show of it by instantly camouflaging his
skin against the color of the tree behind him.
“Enough showing off, Sheenja,” Racjack says
seriously. “Just go get it done. Check it out and report back.”
Sheenja remains out of sight and travels from tree to
tree as he gets closer to the dark figure. The figure bends down
and Sheenja sees that it lowers itself near a pond of water. It
cups the water into its hands and drinks it up. Sheenja takes to
the ground and slithers up to the figure. He is close to the gown
when the figure reaches its hand down and grasps Sheenja’s throat.
It lifts Sheenja up and he can see the figure’s pale, lifeless
face. It has long, transparent teeth. Sheenja instantly recognizes
“You- you’re Shaun of the Dead. A god. How-” Sheenja
becomes lost for words.
“It is I, lizard,” Shaun says emphatically and with a
powerful burst from his gut.
“If you’re here than that must mean…” Sheenja’s voice
tapers off and he starts to sweat.
Shaun laughs powerfully and replies, “Don’t fear,
lizard. It is true that my presence means death is come. But not to
you or the two you are with. Only to those that have been lured to
this forest by my evil sister, Dawn. Will you assist me, mortal, in
Without thought, Sheenja says back, “Of course we
“Are you sure we can trust him?” Brandgurt says
quietly to Racjack. The two of them saunter at a distance away from
Sheenja and Shaun. Sheenja shoots Brandgurt a menacing look, his
serpent eyes peering deep into Brandgurt’s.
Shaun puts his hand on Sheenja’s shoulder and says
calmly, “It’s okay, my friend. Brandgurt means us no harm.”
Brandgurt is caught off guard. How could he have
heard me? he wonders to himself. “Sorry about that, Shaun. It’s
just… usually visits from a god are mischievous in nature.
“And you want to know why I’m really here, yes?”
Shaun says politely.
“I guess that is what I’m saying.” Brandgurt looks to
“Well, what I told you was the truth. My sister,
Dawn, leads mortals into these woods and commits them to it. She
uses her magic to make wanderers end their own lives. And I’ve seen
it go on for long enough.” Shaun keeps his gaze ahead.
“And if we help you, god, then we get a reward. That
is what the legends say, yes?” Racjack wonders, a cocky smile
coming to his face.
Shaun turns around, a sinister smirk suddenly
appearing across his visage. “We will see, won’t we?” He quickly
turns back around and trains his eyes back on the path.
Racjack motions to Brandgurt and whispers, “I don’t
like that answer.” Brandgurt shakes his head in agreement.
Shaun leads the four of them to a cabin sitting
curiously alone and unbothered. It appears to Brandgurt to
decidedly be Pre-Drop. He eyes the windows and notices that aside
from a layer of dust, it appears completely undiscovered.
“What is inside, Shaun?” Racjack asks. He grabs
Shaun’s shoulder and pulls him close. Shaun suddenly dissipates and
Racjack holds up an empty cloak. Shaun reappears in front of
“Rule one, mortals, do not touch a god. Except my
sister. We do have to send her back to Valhalla. But that does not
mean it will be easy for you. She is magical, powerful, and
immortal. But she is in her human form. That means you three may
stand a chance against her.” Shaun steps aside and puts his hand
out, motioning to the door of the cabin.
“You’re not coming in with us?” Racjack asks
skeptically. “Then it’s no deal. Easy as that. We’re supposed to be
getting back to our unit within a few days. Dawn will tear us to
Sheenja pulls Racjack in close and hisses in his ear,
“We cannot refuse the will of a god. He will rip apart our unit and
all of New Otrin with his wrath.”
Racjack hesitates, watches Shaun carefully, and says
back to Sheenja, “You seriously want to do this, Sheenja? There’s
just no way we can survive against a goddess.”
Brandgurt suddenly steps forward confidently and
announces, “We’ll do it! We will fight your sister and claim our
“Ah, so I do have a champion?!” Shaun says excitedly,
his arms outstretched to Brandgurt.
Brandgurt stands firmly and grips his short sword.
Racjack and Sheenja watch Brandgurt uneasily.
“I guess so,” Racjack says.
Brandgurt walks carefully up to the door of the
cabin. He rests his pointy ear against the wooden door and sees if
he can decipher any noises. He hears creaking and steps throughout
the building. He wonders if the noises are Dawn or possibly wild
animals that have snuck inside and now own the residence. Racjack
pulls at Brandgurt’s elbow hockey pad and says, “Well, what is
“I don’t know,” Brandgurt says quietly, still
focusing much of his attention on the door. “It sounds like it
could be anything.”
“But does it sound like it has two legs or… more?”
Sheenja asks sinisterly.
“I don’t know,” Brandgurt insists, this time with
more annoyance in his voice. “Why don’t you try?” He grabs Sheenja
and shoves him to the door.
“Instead of playing this game, we could try spreading
out and covering each entrance and exit. Sound good?” Racjack asks
rhetorically. He pushes Brandgurt to the right, near a storm drain
and window. He then shoves Sheenja to the left and instructs him to
find any exit that could be in the back of the house. Sheenja
agrees without question, and he slithers away toward a window he
finds on the side of the house. He looks it over quickly but
decides against entering in through it. He continues on and sees a
door in the back of the house, overgrown weeds encasing anything
that could be used to open it. He uses his claws to begin cutting
through the weeds and, to his surprise, actually makes progress.
The door suddenly bursts open and he finds himself consumed by a
mound of weeds and various plants. They reach out and surround him
and pull him into the house. He lets out a quick yelp, just enough
so that Racjack and Brandgurt hear it, and within a moment he is
out of sight. Brandgurt hurries over to Racjack and on Racjack’s
face is a tense, stunned expression. He can’t bring himself to move
and this causes Brandgurt to panic also.
“Racjack, we have to move!” Brandgurt yells. He
reaches for his short sword and unsheathes it. Racjack is still
stuck in place, and his eyes concentrate out over into the woods.
“Racjack! Can you hear me?!” Laughing comes from the side and
Brandgurt discerns that it’s Shaun that is mocking him. “What’s so
funny?!” Brandgurt yells to the god.
“Dont worry. I’ve just frozen him. Now all that are
unfrozen is you, my sister, and myself. You are my champion,
Brandgurt. I already have Sheenja out of the way. But I wanted to
spare Racjack. You on the other hand, I need you to defeat my
sister yourself so that you can rightfully claim yourself to be my
champion,” Shaun says, his tense voice indicating that Brandgurt
has no choice in the matter.
Brandgurt pauses, looks to Racjack, frozen and in
shock, and he feels his skin start to tense up. Then his muscles.
He hesitates to answer, nervous of what his answer might imply.
Then a calm comes over him. “Unfreeze Racjack! Please!” His voice
is shrill, desperate.
Shaun replies with elated energy, “I will. After
you’ve defeated my sister. Hurry up, my champion. Defeat my sister
and inherit the great Shaun of the Dead’s weapon!”
“I can’t do this, Shaun. I-I’m not up for it,”
Brandgurt stammers nervously.
“Really?” Shaun sighs. “I’m getting bored with this.
I guess I’ll just…” Shaun lifts his hand and constricts his
fingers. Racjack’s neck constricts with the movement of Shaun’s
hand. “Is this enough motivation, Brandgurt? Because I don’t really
like to have to motivate my champions. But you-”
“Wait!” Brandgurt cries hysterically. “Wait! I-I’ll
do it.” Brandgurt’s head hangs low after he contemplates what his
answer means. But Shaun begins to dance around him, knowing he’s
forced him to give in. “Just tell me something I can use to my
advantage. What are her weaknesses? How can I defeat her?”
“She’s surrounded in a wooden house with an abundance
of plants surrounding her. Do I have to spell it out, Brandgurt?
This is not a difficult challenge I’m asking of you,” Shaun says,
Brandgurt sensing the annoyance in his voice.
“Fine, got it,” Brandgurt says, stretching and ready
to overcome his fear. He quickly looks the area over. Wood by the
base of a tree appears to him to be good for kindling. He was given
a small lighter courtesy of New Otrin. He takes it out and runs his
finger across the top of it, igniting a small flame. He takes the
wood into his hands and sets the fire to the wood. It catches and
he brings it close to the cabin. His heart starts to race and he
can feel Shaun standing behind him, watching attentively, careful
to examine any instances of hesitance from Brandgurt.
“Do it,” Shaun says quickly, a broad smile emerging
slowly across his face. “Burn her down.”
Brandgurt sets the burning wood to the cabin and the
flame catches to the cabin’s surface and catches to the overgrown
weeds coming down from the windows and on top of the cabin.
Brandgurt steps back and admires his handiwork. His chest starts to
feel heavy. He takes a few more steps back, closer to Shaun and he
peers over at Shaun as his creeping smile suddenly broadens even
“That’s it, Brandgurt,” Shaun says, his smile
indicating that he is pleased. “Her and her damned plants will burn
in there. All thanks to you. I’ll meet her in Valhalla to complete
the ritual and have her pay fealty to me again. I can’t have her
running amok and challenging me every time she gets a bit of
strength. Ah, yes, your reward.”
Brandgurt’s eyes remain on the growing flame and he
ignores Shaun’s comments. “Sounds good,” he says with little
interest. “Now can you please unfreeze Racjack?”
“Of course, I almost forgot!” Shaun says excitedly.
He is about to snap his fingers when the front door of the cabin
suddenly bursts open, an angry, half-burnt woman with a dark,
flowing cloak emerging from it.
“You!” she screams to Shaun. “Why have you followed
“I think you know what I want, sister!” Shaun says
back loudly, but with a hint of calm and composure.
“You want your medallion back, brother?!” Dawn yells
frantically. She pulls the trinket from her gown and holds it in
the air, the sun sparkling off of its pointy edges. “And you
thought this Grant could stop me?!” She points to Brandgurt
accusingly. Brandgurt starts to sweat but holds the short sword
firmly. He suddenly feels the urge to pull his hand up to defend
himself but he quickly notices that no shield rests in his hand.
“Don’t worry, Grant. You won’t be fighting me. That would be too
easy. I have a champion of my own.” Dawn steps aside and Sheenja
steps forward, lifeless and without purpose. His eyes have become
white as milk.
Brandgurt backs up until his body reaches Shaun’s.
Shaun smiles, giddy with excitement. “This should be a good one,
sister,” he calls to Dawn. “You’ve picked a worthy one and so have
I. But let’s see if living counts more for dead, shall we?”
Dawn’s smirk quickly matches her brother’s. “We
Sheenja’s reanimated corpse stands tall and its
soulless eyes seem to peer through Brandgurt. Brandgurt feel its
gaze searing through him and contemplates dropping the sword and
running as quickly as he can away from the body of his dead
companion but he holds it firmly in his hand and has a sudden burst
of courage surge through him. He repositions himself atop a boulder
and ensures he has the high ground. Sheenja saunters over to him
with sword in hand. He walks slowly and without fluid movements.
His body jerks from side to side and then he suddenly leaps a few
feet up and comes crashing down on top of Brandgurt, his sword
coming close to Brandgurt’s face but stopped short by a block from