Prologue for Kor’Thank: Barbarian Valley Girl

A Musing That Bears Consideration…

 

 

What would it mean if existence were infinite? Truly infinite? If every permutation of matter, energy, physics, and possibility existed somewhere out there in the vast unknown? A few universes over, “Hamlet’ wouldn’t be written by Shakespeare; it would be authored by an immortal monkey banging randomly at a typewriter (I like to imagine this fellow chain-smoking cigarettes and wearing a fedora, as if he was an old-school reporter from the early twentieth century).

Fictional heroes would live actual lives in an adjacent reality.

From what I understand, physicists (and please research this for yourself; I’m not a scientist), along with philosophers, allow for scenarios where cause and effect do not dictate phenomena. Time (needed for causality to exist, as cause A needs time to enact interaction B. Time is once again needed to express result C) is a construct created by the expansion of this universe, and is also affected by phenomena like gravity and speed. And if you think this is a pie-in-the-sky idea which bears no relevance to your daily life, look no further than your GPS app. A GPS satellite must receive corrections to its programming that account for gravity-borne time slippage, or it would end up sending us erroneous data.

Admittedly, what I’ve described is a cheap trick; I’ve used my meager knowledge of science to push for the idea that the following story might actually be happening in some where, some when.

Why would I do such a thing? To be honest, I do it to add credibility to a ridiculous, ridiculous tale. The world within these pages is similar to ours, but with an added twist of fantasticality. Let’s start with the plausible: a modern day high school where the teen-queen cheerleaders are just as vicious as any 1980s John Hughes stereotype. Now let’s push it a little further: my protagonist is a mad genius. A high school junior who—through his cutting edge knowledge of psychedelics and technology—possesses the ability to change the world.

If I haven’t lost you yet, let’s go just a little bit further: parallel dimensions are real. Within one such dimension exists a barbarian warrior, similar to Conan. He is a master of combat, both physical and magical. He swings swords, casts spells, rescues scantily clad maidens from evil insect-men…

And oh yeah—he rides velociraptors.

Teen queens, mad geniuses, and velociraptor-riding barbarian warriors. What kind of madness would ensue if they actually met?

I’m well aware that this is a ridiculous proposition. And I’m well aware that my proposition is one that’s utterly self-serving—its purpose is to ease the bounds of my readers’ credibility so I can stand a chance of telling a farcical tale. I’ve done my part to set up the story; the rest is up to you.

So without further ado, I urge you to continue reading…

And revel in the absurdity.

 

 

 

Kent Wayne

October 29, 2017

 

Dear Diary: O. M. G! I was just voted squad captain! I had to arrange an “accident” with our current—sorry, FORMER—captain, Lizzy Prendergast, where I convinced a few other cheerleaders to “drop” her in the middle of a stunt. She was slurring her words…her eyes were rolling back in her head…happy brain trauma, bitch!

 

—From the diary of Holly Dent. Atherton sophomore and evil psychopath.

 

 

Today we killed hundreds and freed thousands. It was a narrow victory, both bloody and glorious. Our ranks were scattered by volley upon volley of barbed arrows, and for a harrowing moment, we were in danger of being routed.

 

While we Indashis may possess the stoutest of hearts, those hearts must be channeled through a strong mind and an iron fist. Kor’Thank is that mind. Kor’Thank is that fist. Amidst a rain of wicked steel, he rallied the Reptrix Cavalry and led the charge against Rotskar’s army, breaking its will like a skull-maiden’s spine. No one is stronger than Kor’Thank.

 

—From the Ballad of Kor’Thank as recounted by Krul’Dar, in the fifth age of Iluvia.

 

 

I just wanna fuck something.

 

—From the blog of Chongha Peter Lee

 

 

 

Prologue

 

 

“YES! I ACCEPT!”

Holly jumped up and down, erupting with delighted squeals. Her friends closed in on her, surrounding her with widened eyes and exaggerated gapes.

“Oh my god—”

“Oh mah GAWD—”

“You’re going to take our squad to new heights—”

“—knew you were going to be captain some day—”

“Lizzy would be so happy.” This came from Holly’s best friend and evil lieutenant: Marissa Thompkins.

Holly winked at her trusted hench-woman. The lights flickered overhead—the electrical system was currently being upgraded and was a bit erratic—but predictably, no one noticed.

They were too busy worshipping their evil queen.

“A-hem!” Holly straightened up and adopted a somber expression. “A-heh-heh-HEM!”

The girls quieted down.

Holly regarded them with a somber stare. She laid a calculated hand on top of her heart, dipping her head and switching to Serious Mode. This was a tactic she’d learned from her mom—I’m about to say something important, so look super interested and nod vigorously once I’ve finished—and spoke in a voice that brooked no dissent.

“I know some of us didn’t like Lizzy, but right now, that’s besides the point. She’s in a coma, and we need to be there for our fellow squadmate.”

Holly cleared her throat into her fist, barely managing to disguise her laughter. She lowered her hand, and placed it once again atop her heart.

“We need to be there for our retar—I mean brain-damaged. We need to be there for our brain-damaged friend.”

A gaggle of heads bobbed up and down.

Marissa squeezed Holly’s shoulder, accompanying the gesture with a doe-eyed gaze.

“We’ll take care of her, Holls.”

Indeed we will, Holly thought, smiling inwardly.

“Come on guys.” Holly flexed her throat and caused her voice to crack. “Group hug!”

The hive of cheerleaders pressed inward. Most were able to produce crocodile tears, and Holly was no exception. She was the best at it, in fact.

“For Liz,” she whispered. “Our beautiful sister-in-arms.”

“For Liz,” they murmured.

Their heads raised and they stepped away from each other. Holly sniffed dejectedly and wiped away tears, calculating the appropriate amount of time she should continue looking sad. It wouldn’t look good if she switched too quickly from sorrow to joy, even amongst these vicious cunts.

“Thanks guys.” Marissa offered up a handkerchief. Holly gratefully accepted. “I really appreciate it.” She wiped away the last of her tears.

A thousand one, a thousand two, a thousand three…

Good enough. She adopted a brave-in-the-face-of-tragedy smile, and grinned at her fellow predators. “Let’s get back to work. It’s what Lizzy would want.”

There was a chorus of nods and murmurs. Every so often, within a bunch of likeminded psychopaths, a hive mind is formed. That was the case with Holly and her squad.

And right now, the hive mind knew that it was time to celebrate.

Marissa clapped her hands together. “We are so happy for you Holly!”

The girls rushed in and lifted Holly above their heads. She burbled with delight, smiling and laughing like she’d just won the lottery. But she knew—deep within her black, withered soul—that this was simply another step. There were greater things in store for Holly Dent.

Her body went on autopilot—thanking, cheering, yay-ing—but at that moment, if she had honestly expressed herself, she would have smiled with stunning malevolence—such unbridled malice, that by comparison, Emperor Palpatine would have looked like an anime schoolgirl.

That’s right you cunts—pay tribute to your queen.

 

 

Kor’Thank stared into his massive beer stein. Unlike his fellow barbarians, he hadn’t gulped it in a single pull. In that shining oval of amber liquid, he saw his reflection staring vexedly back at him.

“I am tired, Krul’Dar. I no longer wish to be king of our tribe.” His voice was heavy and resigned.

Krul’Dar, Kor’Thank’s loyal friend and Chief Chronicler, finished off his eighth stein of fizzling ambrosia. He let the glass drop to the counter with a resounding THUNK. Waves of beer crested its edges and puddled onto the dragonwood table. He fixed Kor’Thank with a puzzled gaze.

“My liege—”

Kor’Thank’s brows beetled together. “Or’goth’s balls, Krul! I hate it when you call me that! Have we not spilled the same blood? Have we not pillaged the same hoards?”

Krul’Dar nodded. “Apologies, brother. It’s just that your latest feat was nothing short of—”

Kor’Thank cracked a faint smile. “ ’Twas glorious, was it not?”

Krul’Dar faced forward, eyes flickering across the skulls and kegs that lined the tavern keeper’s shelves. He waved an open hand theatrically before him, as if he was drawing back an invisible curtain. “King Kor’Thank rode up the spine-coated back of a fifty-foot retrorax, astride his velociraptor mount, the loyal Tongue Render—”

“Krul’Dar. You know his name is Bitefighter.”

Krul’Dar threw him a reproachful look. “As Chief Chronicler, I must convey gravitas.”

Kor’Thank sighe and flapped the air with a dismissive hand. “Continue.”

Krul’Dar’ stared again at the tavern keeper’s goods, as if he could see great treasure amongst the shrunken heads and colored flasks. “Kor’Thank, Protector of the True and Indashi King, charged up the back of a towering retrorax, nocking three arrows onto his Lamordian bow. As he crested its neck he clucked his tongue, commanding his mount to dive left at the exact same moment he dove right. He hurtled through the air, loosing a trio of Blacksear arrows. Each missile struck true, piercing the eyes of the three-headed beast. A single arrow for each head!” Krul’Dar slammed the table with a clenched fist. “A shot worthy of the ages! Never before had a single warrior managed to kill a full-grown retrorax!” His voice lowered in volume, turning reverent and solemn. “The Indashi King had slain legions of sorcerers, as well as countless beasts that breathed fire, ice, or poison. He had led innumerable charges against Orcs and Fell-walkers. And now, with the death of a retrorax, he took his place amongst the greatest hunters in all of Elithia.”

Krul’Dar paused. He looked expectantly at his friend. “What do you think?”

Kor’Thank took a long draught of beer. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and stared morosely at the wall.

“What of the long, frozen nights, Krul? What of the many weeks spent gathering supplies, or distributing food and weaponry so that our families and friends could stay fed and armed? It is not all blood and glory. You know that.”

Irritation flashed through Krul’Dar’s eyes. “Kor, you cannot expect common folk to appreciate the complexities of sovereignty—they have enough drudgery to contend with in their day-to-day lives. We must lift their hearts and buoy their spirits. They need inspiration—not minutiae.”

A cynical scoff. “To what end, Krul? What purpose does inspiration serve, other than to keep the downtrodden from facing the bitter futility of their own existence?”

Krul’Dar put his hand on Kor’Thank’s shoulder. “Kor. When they hear what you’ve done, they want to be you. Your deeds give them a sense of purposeand that is the greatest treasure in all of Elithia. A sense of purpose—more than sparkling gems, more than fine wines, more than glory itself—makes this hard-scrabble life into something worth living.”

Kor’Thank’s gaze returned to his stein. “I have defeated tyrants and dragons…and yet there is a deep emptiness within my soul. Despite all I’ve accomplished, peace eludes me.” He turned to Krul’Dar with a haunted look.

“What of my purpose? Where in the Seven Hells do I find it?”

The Chronicler’s hand tightened upon his friend’s shoulder.

“You must make your own.”

 

 

Chongha Peter Lee was a wrathful genius.

He knew it, his friend Eun Yin knew it…hell, even the former President knew it. But aside from those three, no one knew.

And it was driving him insane.

After throwing projectiles at Holly Dent’s picture for a good two hours (after the first hour he’d switched from darts to ninja stars, and then to tomahawks), he decided to call up the former President. He reached under his bed and withdrew a spin-entangled, ultra-secure satphone, pressed his thumb against its genetic spectro-scan, and made the call. A dignified voice answered on the other end.

“Peter?”

“B. Things are fucked man—they are fucked.”

The former president sighed. “They’ve always been fucked. Hands get shook, bribes get made, and the gears keep spinning. I get a book deal, some speaking fees, and a nicely worded warning: ‘Let the public know about Grays or Insectoids, and a .50 caliber round is going to scramble your brains.’ ”

Peter sunk his brow into the crook of his thumb and forefinger. “She killed my dog, B. My motherfucking dog. I’ve brought down pedophiles, assisted as a tech for tier one hits, I’ve repurposed Gray technology…but I can’t take my revenge on Holly Dent? For fuck’s sake, B, she’s a fucking cheerleader!”

Another sigh. “Her dad is the head of Interdimensional Weapons Research over at…well, you know I can’t say it—people might be listening. Sanctioning Holly is a no-go, Peter.”

Peter flopped onto his bed. His hand transformed into a neurotic blur as he violently itched his scrotum and penis. “No one kills my dog and gets away with it. NO ONE!”

“Peter. You were five and she was four. And you dosed her with a chemical cocktail containing a thousand milligrams of THC, an experimental derivative of Adderall, as well as eight hundred milligrams of pharmaceutical grade caffeine. Did you ever stop to think that you might have created your own worst enem—”

“THE FUCK I DID!” Peter screamed. “It was an innocent prank, B! I was five years old and—”

“—and she was four,” the former president interjected.

Peter kept ranting. “—that cocktail doesn’t do a goddamn thing except reveal who you truly fucking are! She killed Bitefighter, B! She fucking KILLED BITEFIGHTER!”

Peter stomped to the bathroom, grabbed a towel off the rack, and blotted the hate-sweat off his face.

Finally, he said, “Sorry B, but—”

“No Peter—I’m the one who should apologize. You’ve done a lot for this country, and you deserve your peace.”

“Thanks man—that means a lot to me. You’ve done a lot of shit too; you should get some kind of—”

Harsh laughter. “Just because I tried doesn’t mean I accomplished anything.”

“You and me both. Everything we’ve done looks good on paper, but what have we really done aside from prop up the status quo? Nothing’s changed. People are still the same: a bunch of hairless, rabid-ass chimps.”

“At least you’re young. My God…you should look at some of these fucks that sit in Congress. It’s true what they say—D.C. is just an uglier version of Hollywood.”

“We’re both surrounded by a bunch of chimps that can’t get past their stupid—” Peter punched the wall. “Fucking.” Another punch. His hand hurt, but he didn’t give a flying fuck. “CHIMP INSTINCTS!” Two more punches, and a pair of knuckle-spotted dents appeared in the wall, taking their place amongst the legions of punch-marks that dotted the bedroom. “The ones you dealt with fuck their interns and pay for coke with lobbyist bribes. The chimps I deal with jerk off to the latest hashtag, or try to jockey for some meaningless title like Homecoming Queen. Yo—did you know that Atherton’s mascot is an actual chimpanzee?”

They both broke out into gales of laughter. Life had a cruel sense of humor…but that didn’t make it any less funny.

The former president gasped, “Oh god, oh god—I…I…” and then began laughing again. It wasn’t that funny, but both Peter and B were aware that underneath their circumstances—underneath their wondrous, storied lives—there lurked a razor-sharp, existentialist irony. Laughing like a madman was one of the purest tributes you could pay to the absurdity of life, and these two—the former President and a high school junior caught in a Darwinian web of adolescence—were uniquely qualified to pay that tribute.

Eventually, they stopped laughing.

Peter wiped away the tears. “They named him Fido, but I call him Reptar.”

“A real chimp? Those are dangerous, Peter.”

Peter shrugged. “I don’t think they care. Reptar was Holly’s idea, and since her dad is heading up special projects over at—”

“Don’t say it, Peter. These phones might be secure, but you know how crypto goes—it’s a never-ending arms race to eavesdrop on your enemy.”

“Right. Sorry.”

Peter had been about to say that Holly’s father was the project chief over at the cutting edge organization known as ANOS—Advanced Neurorobotics and Operational Sciences. Ostensibly a federal agency, but so vastly dependent on contractors that it was impossible to tell where corporations ended and government began.

“Anyways,” Peter continued, “She’s used her dad’s pull to reduce the faculty to a bunch of bureaucratic, PTA-servicing whores.” Peter balled up his free hand into a tight, trembling fist. “Atherton is under her sway, and there’s not a goddamn thing anyone can do about it.”

The former president cleared his throat. “So this chimpanzee Reptar…who watches over him? How does a high school pay for his care and maintenance?”

“Dude, have you checked the housing prices? They’re high as fuck. Atherton High has enough cheddar to fund a mercenary army; it’s pretty easy to hire a crew of chimp handlers. But it’s not a big deal,” Peter continued. “Reptar gets plenty of love. Aside from you and Eun, he’s my only friend.”

The former president broke his silence. “You’re friends with it? Peter, those things cripple their prey! They bite off hands and feet, gouge eyeballs—”

“—and rip your nuts off,” Peter finished. “Yeah, I know. But at least real chimpanzees are honest about it. The rest of the school—the rest of society—they try to do the same damn thing, only with laws and norms.”

“Peter, there’s a big difference between shady legalities and tearing off your—”

“Not to me there isn’t,” Peter replied. “Don’t worry about Reptar—I’m the only one he likes. He only gets angry if someone interrupts our tussle-time.”

“Jesus, you play with him?”

“He’s my jiu-jitsu buddy. You know how antisocial I am; I’m not gonna go to an actual jiu-jitsu school and—”

“Jiu-jitsu?”

Peter sighed. “It’s not ideal, I know. None of my moves would actually work on him because he’s so fucking strong. But I need a training partner who can put in the time. It’s all good—his joints and movements approximate a human’s.”

“Peter, you’re doing jiu-jitsu with a fucking chimp!”

“We’re all chimps B—we’re all chimps.”

There was a long pause.

Eventually, the former president said, “Well, we certainly act like it.”

A beep sounded from Peter’s computer. A large square of text began flashing on the screen:

REMINDER: YOU HAVE ALLOTTED TWENTY MINUTES FOR YOUR PHONE CALL WITH B. TODAY’S OBLIGATIONS INCLUDE AN HOUR OF WORK DEVELOPING THE BITE-MOBILE, AS WELL AS NINETY MINUTES OF WORK REFINING THE FUCKRISING.

Peter keyed in a series of commands, shutting off the reminder. He plunked back down onto his bed.

“Gotta go, B; there’s work to do. The Bite Mobile—”

The former president laughed. “Peter, it’s a unicycle fitted with a shitload of circuitry. I’m not sure that the suffix ‘mobile’ is entirely appropriate.”

“You’ll see. I’ve also got to work on the Fuckrising.”

“I’m afraid to ask what that is.”

“The Earth has gifted us with mind-expanding substances. Entheogens are an integral part of a greater solution. We don’t need to perpetuate our evil monkey ways by watching reality TV, or obsessing over the latest hashtag. We can be more than that—we can evolve.”

“Are you talking about psychedelics? Be careful Peter—I dabbled with LSD back at Columbia U, but—”

Peter cut him off with a harsh bark of laughter. “The Fuckrising is no mere psychedelic. It’s gonna set things right.”

“Don’t do anything stupid.”

“Too late. Take care of yourself B.”

Peter hung up.

He stared at the ceiling for a long moment, letting his eyes drift across a stylized hologram of a Super Mario Bros. mushroom. Unbeknownst to many, the power-up was based on an actual psychedelic: the amanita muscaria, chosen for the game because it often induced the illusion of physical growth. It was also the source of the Santa Claus myth: a red-and-white entity that would deliver presents or punishments, depending on the quality of the recipient’s moral fiber.

At one point in time, Peter had been convinced that psychedelic mushrooms could save the world. But as things stood, the world was too far gone. The Earth required something stronger.

The Fuckrising.

When Holly had murdered Bitefighter, it had created a strange dissonance in Peter’s mind; he admired her ruthlessness, but he couldn’t forgive her for killing the shit out of his dog. It had completely emasculated his five-year-old mind.

He had never felt so weak, so powerless, so…

Small.

Peter reached under his bed and withdrew a crinkled lump of inflatable plastic. He opened its air nozzle and mated it with a connector, one that led to an electronic pump. He activated the pump, and a loud drone filled the room.

Slowly but steadily, the plastic blew up into a human figure. After a few minutes, a facsimile of Holly emerged on Peter’s bed, completely naked and ready for doggy style. Its eyes were ridiculously big, and its mouth rounded into a cartoonish “O.”

Peter cut off the pump, yanked his shorts down, and took his place behind the doll. He began thrusting.

You shouldn’t have made me feel small Holly—you SHOULDN’T HAVE MADE ME FEEL SMALL!

Veins bulged from his forehead as he railed away at the lifeless dummy. This was his nightly ritual, but it was decidedly dismal: he was unable to cum through doll-sex alone.

After he vented most of his rage, he fell onto his side and began furiously masturbating. At the same time, trails of tears leaked down his cheeks.

You will all pay.

He starched his sheets with a flood of gross, stinky sperm.

You will all pay for what you’ve done.

He fell asleep in his filth.

And in his dreams, he gorged on the sweet nectar of vengeance.

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