Medievia Mudslinger

July 14th, 2001

One Last Stand - by Ratarko

Ratarko looked at the doctor. He put his head in his hands. "It's one hundred percent fatal, isn't it. I won't just become a corpse, and come back, will I." he stated, not looking up.

Quota didn't say a thing. He went back to look at the paperwork. This hadn't been easy work, taking on the job of doctor along with his religious practice in New Ashton

"Hrumph." Ratarko looked up. "Is there a cure, or some bit of magic that can help me? There has to be something." He wrung his hands.

Quota shook his head. "There's no cure, and no magic known that can help you. We do have herbs that can slow down the process, but that is all at this time." He pulled out a quill, and wrote on a piece of paper. "Here is an address in Trellor. There you can meet with others who also have your disease. It might not hurt for you to be with those who really understand what you're going through."

Ratarko took the paper in a shaky hand. He stood, and walked out.

Ratarka and Raticus cried when they heard the news. His mother cried, his family cried, his friends cried. Even his enemies were saddened, as he had been around for so long. They knew things wouldn't be the same without him.

He explained that what he suffered was a disease of the blood, that it made him unable to fight off the poison of the banelar, the plagues of enemy casters, or the diseases carried by any other creature. He was destined to waste away, to die not on the battlefield which he called home, but in a sickbed, hidden away from the world.

The world was very different for our favorite dwarf from that point on. He looked upon life as if he was separate from it, and saw then what was really important, and what wasn't. He was in shock of all the time he spent on one goal or another, goals that really mattered very little in the scheme of things, but which seemed so important at the time. Things would never be the same.

He had to tell all the women that he loved, for they were at risk. He suggested that they meet with Quota, and be tested.

Ratarko spent the next several years with his children. He watched his grandchildren be born, and he told stories to them by the firelight. He told of the great ones that were old when he started his own adventures, such as Karamon, and Oakland. He told tales of Nightmare, Barnwulf, and Core; recounted legends of his friends Zark, Beekay, Sedona, Forge, and many others.

He cried sometimes, when alone. He didn't want to give up on this life, he still had so much longer to go. He was much thinner now, and the colds and flus were lasting longer and longer. He looked gaunt, and lesions were evident upon his skin. He looked so different from when he wandered the world, in search of adventure.

One night, he decided that he would no longer waste away in his bed, crying himself to sleep. Wearily, he stood, and opened the chest adjacent to his bed. He removed from it his equipment - his sword, his armor, his spell components... his pride and joy, his Diamond Orb of Tyche, which had he received as a gift from his friend Beekay oh so many years ago.

He donned his armor, polished his sword, lit his Orb, and opened the front door. He could hardly support the weight of his belongings, but he stood nonetheless.

Stumbling out into the street, he managed to get himself to the stables. Our good friend Ratarko purchased the finest steed he could afford, and mounted it with the help of the stable boy, who was hesitant to assist him.

Ratarko had had this happen before. People were scared of him, thinking that just being near him, breathing the same air as he, that they too would contract this horrible illness. Qota had insisted that this was not so, that the only way it could be transferred would be if bodily fluids were exchanged, such as blood.

He didn't acknowledge the stable boy's fear. This wasn't his time. This was Ratarko's time. Whipping the horse's flank, he galloped through the streets, and out the eastern gate.

It didn't take long to find what he was looking for. About two hours east, Ratarko came across a group of trolls, going through a wagon that they had obviously stolen. It took them a moment to realize that he was there, and in that time, the dwarf was upon them.

CLANG went the strike of steel upon steel, as the battle ensued. Troll after troll dropped like trees felled in a forest, the light in their eyes dying as a torch in water. The battle raged on for over an hour, until the end was nigh upon the combatants.

A troll, warrior by trade, managed to evade the sword swings, and close in on Ratarko who's blows were weakening with every strike. Grabbing the rider's leg, the troll pulled him down from his horse, and stabbed him through the chest with one mighty thrust. Standing, the troll backed off, looking around to see how many of his brothers survived the assault.

Seeing only sky above him, Ratarko smiled, as blood began to escape from his parted lips. The sky seemed beautiful, so beautiful. He whispered his children's names, and closed his eyes, falling asleep for the last time.

Ratarko 1995-2001

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