November 11, 2000
Undarl's Punishment - by Undarl
I awoke that morning, smelling of the dried blood and old sweat from
the battle last night in which I was triumphant, naturally. I stretched
languidly as I stood.
I was Undarl, Warrior Magnificent Extrodinaire, and I don't mean to
brag, but even the gods trembled when I walked near. I cleaned up my campsite,
and began walking east, thinking to myself, how very great I was. How no
creature, from the lowliest jeering janitor in Med City, to the
sneering, bad postured Vecna could match me in brawn, brains, and sheer charisma.
Why I have never been more successful with the ladies, I will never
understand. But that is a lengthy topic for another time.
Imagine my surprise as deep in thought about glorious me, I did not see
the tornado bearing down on me until too late! It was a monster of a
twister! A dark haze of wind-torn dirt and debris swirling in this giant cone
shaped beacon of death, coming right at me. I stood tall against the roaring
vortex, feet planted firmly, eyes straight ahead, and gave a piercing, high
pitched screaming plea for my mommy. I began to wince, expecting pain but I
was dead way before my mind even registered it. The tornado swept me high into
the sky, slamming my body against various objects the tornado had uprooted,
trees, livestock, even a battered tavern, until it spit me out the top, like a
trembling volcano erupts hot ash and molten rock. I flew higher and
higher, and though, by then quite dead, but still amazingly somehow... aware of
what was going on. I hovered in the air for a second, before making a
vicious plummet to the earth. I bounced hard off the ground, a glancing blow
that sent me sailing again. A few smaller bounces before coming to rest on my
back, one leg twisted up behind me. I heard that I left an impact in the ground
that is still there to this day.
I lay there for a second, thinking to myself how now Vryce and the
entire entourage of the heavens would appear before me, praising all of my
great deeds and beg me to take my place among the pantheon. Pleading on
their hands and knees begging Medievia's greatest hero to become the greatest god
ever, the god of gods. After that second, I waited a few more, and then an
entire minute! As I was beginning to get impatient, (after all how long must
a god wait?) I caught a glimpse out of eyes I could not blink, a magical rift
open, and a dark-cloaked being step out.
His face was covered in a dark cowl but his eyes were like two bright
stars, glowing brightly. He stared at me momentarily and then began walking
slow circles about my body. "At last", I thought jubilantly, "here comes
somebody to start kissing my feet and teach me my divine abilities, like
blinking. At least, a god crazed cleric driven to resurrect me, of course I'm sure
to earn, I'm sure a large favor from his or her god." Instead, the creature
began muttering nonsense and smacking me smartly with a staff he was carrying
as he made his rounds! I was beyond astonishment, I tried to rise to my
feet, to scream at this foolish creature for treating me, Undarl the God
Magnificent, as I had just then decided to dub myself, in such a desecrating and
demeaning way! The creature chuckled softly to himself and I heard him
muttering, "damn fool, didn't know to get out of a way of a tornado? You can hear them
coming a mile away. I've seen wombats with more intelligence."
I would have rolled over in my grave if I was buried, and had the
liberty to make that movement at what he was saying. Instead I laid there,
thinking horrible insults at him, and I knew deep down inside he heard me.
After a few more passes about my torn body, he opened the rift again and stepped
through leaving me alone. I stared at the sky alone, despairing, and
Oh, the thoughts and memories that pass through one's head as he lies
motionless, dead to the world, staring blankly at the horizon. I
remembered being a young teenager. Roaming the friendly streets of Medievia,
kicking the occasional begging boy in the head as he pleaded for a scrap of food,
scattering his already dim wits to the four corners of the world. I
chuckled silently as I thought of chasing after the lovely lasses, begging for a
kiss, and relishing the burning sting of the ensuing slap. How I was always
running from town guards, and fellow Medievians who wished me dead, hiding in
the library from Scruff, when I would pull his tail too hard.
Those were the good days, those were my fondest memories. The building
blocks of a hero! But would I be forced to lie here and relive them, until
the flesh was stripped from my bones by the carrion feeders? Surely it couldn't
be so, not when someone as great as me still had adventures left in him that
storytellers would be telling young children about for years to come!
I wallowed deeply in my self pity, losing my hold on reality as I climbed
into my internal world of sorrow.
Sometime later, still crying on the inside, I noticed something, I
could feel real tears streaming down my face! I was shocked and instantly jumped
to my feet, but promptly fell back down, tripping clumsily. I noticed I felt
extremely sluggish, and when I was able to jerk my head down I saw that
all the fatal injuries that I had endured, still lay fresh on my body. I
uttered a low, despairing moan. Whatever that evil creature had done, had
cursed me to a lich like state!
I must admit at this time, I panicked and began a shambling run,
screaming and weeping like a constipated baby, not taking in any consideration to
where I was going, tripping two or three times. But always back on my feet and
running again, my eyes white and wide with fear. I figured that I would
eventually collapse with exhaustion, but I ran like the fleeting wind,
not so much as a stir of breath coming from my mouth. It seems like I ran for
hours, and I would have ran for days, but it abruptly ended when I slammed
full force into a smooth white pillar. I stared cross eyed at my now flat,
smashed nose for a moment before looking around and seeing to my astonishment that I
had bounced off the wall of a great church.
A new spring of hope lit up inside of me, for I knew that if I could
find salvation anywhere, it would be inside these great walls. I quickly
stood up, and bounded around the church to the front door, where I pulled myself
up short, dusting off my bloody, dishelved clothes. I was after all,
Undarl, Warrior Magnificent Extrodinaire. I walked with extreme dignity,
befitting someone of my stature into the front hall of the church.
A lovely priestess sat on a pew reading a book, seemingly unaware of
me. I cleared my throat twice, and she so engrossed in her book, still
ignored me! Sighing deeply, I strode over to her, stuck my hand in front of her
face, snapping sharply twice. I will never understand some people, I mean
here I was, the greatest hero in all the lands, honoring this woman with my
presence, as disheveled as it might be, and this poor creature was to oblivious
to even notice! She looked up at me sharply, and asked in a cold tone, "What
can I help you with"?
I stared hard at her for a few seconds in disbelief before I
practically screamed, "Well, look at me! I need powerful spells of healing and
resurrection! Quickly, summon your best healers and I shall reward you
with a kiss!"
Her slap knocked my jaw out of alignment that knocked loose two teeth.
I could only gape before exclaiming, "whub youth do thap flor"?
"You have got to be the most dimwitted pig I have ever met!" she spat,
her voice like poisoned vinegar. "You have lost your life, foolishly I
don't doubt, and have had the misfortune of having your soul captured, only
your faith will bring you back to the vitality that you had before, though,
if it was up to me you could rot where you stand!" She stood, not giving me
another glance and walked briskly from the room. I bent and picked my violated
teeth from the floor, noting that if nothing else could be said for the wild
woman, was that she kept a clean house.
I spied the altar through a curtained hallway, and shambled over to it.
I dropped to my knees, praying quickly, telling Vryce of all the
injustices I had gone through, and if he would promptly return me to my normal state
that I would make sure and put a good word in for him when I took over.
Immediately, I heard loud booming laughter that seemed to come at me from all sides,
mocking me and insulting me at the same time with no verbal words
spoken. I startled for a moment, in my self righteousness had I somehow insulted
the Creator? I thought back for a moment and could discover nothing wrong
with what I had said. I was the only beam of light in this world of
darkness, surely even Vryce knew that!
Yet, I still was kneeled on this altar, my skin gray and mottled, with
a slight smell of decay coming from my armpits. In despair, I threw
myself mentally upon the feet of the gods begging to be restored to my
rightful glory, I would do anything, I prayed desperately, just take this curse
from my body! All I wanted was to take one deep, even breath and I would be
eternally grateful. As I finished my prayer, a small beam of light, lit up the
dais of the altar and slowly spread out and up to form the image of a woman.
Oh, but what a woman! Garbed in brilliant white, her hair a chestnut
brown, motes of gold and silver flitting through it, eyes as bright and cold
as stars on a moon less night, I knew I looked at the face of a goddess. In her
face I saw sorrow and yet looking at her perfect beauty, I knew that all the
answers lay there in that face. I knew that if I did then suddenly keel over
and knew no more, that I could say that I died happy. When she spoke her voice
was like a gentle breeze, or a soft familiar melody.
"I am a goddess of this land and your prayers have been answered." She
spoke calmly, yet there was a tint of sadness there as well. "But you think
yourself better than the creators of this universe, and that is
something that can not go unpunished. You will live again as mortals do, but not as
the strong, proud warrior, you thought yourself to be. Instead you will
live as a beast of the forest, and hopefully learn some humility, and
Before I could speak any protest, she abruptly vanished. I began to
feel an odd change come over me. I began to sprout silky, black hair all over
my body and my snout elongated, my feet grew into hands, and leathery wings
sprouted from my back. I did take that deep breath I had wished for so
fervently, but it came with a price.
Ironically, as the dark being who had stolen my soul and gotten me into
this whole mess had mentioned that he had seen smarter wombats than I, I was
now one of those accursed creatures. I slunk out of the church as quietly
as I could, but as luck would have it, the priestess I had insulted, caught
a glimpse of me as I scuttled out the door. Her howls of laughter still
haunt my dreams at night.
It has been two long months since this change has come about. Have I
become appreciative? Sure, seeing the power and the beauty of only one of the
immortals up close has made me appreciative of what they are capable
of. I will never fancy myself in their likeness again. But humility? I
caught a glimpse of myself in a pool of water the other day and I don't mean to
brag but I am one fine looking creature! Could I be so bold as to say that
no other creature of the forest could match me in brawn, brains, and sheer
charisma? Why the female wombats run from me still, I have yet to understand.
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