Holly Dent, despite being one of the purest incarnations of evil to ever walk the Earth, wasn’t a caricature; there was a spark of goodness within her twisted, malicious heart. If she’d been willing to take an honest look into her distorted psyche, she could have traced her dark inclinations back to when she was five years old, back to when Peter Lee had…
She didn’t want to think about it.
But even so, The Event haunted her throughout the day, nagging at the edges of her psychopathic mind. If she strained her memory, vague details would come to the fore: she had killed something, Peter had been involved, but beyond that…
The Event had incepted her with a secret attraction to Peter Lee. She only expressed it in the privacy of her room—when the lights were out and no one was looking. Beneath her bed was a customized vault. For her thirteenth birthday, she’d asked dear old dad to equip it with lethal deterrents. He’d complied without question—anything for his sweet little angel.
Inside the vault were stacks of seven-inch dildos, 5.5 inches in circumference. When they made contact with her bodily fluids, they immediately began to deteriorate. She’d scoured the dark web for close to a year in order to find a craftsman that could manufacture each cock to her exact specifications. Instead of a dickhead, they all sported a miniature version of Peter’s face. She’d requested that his eyes be extra squinty, that his expression be extra angry.
Now, as she held a “pildo” (short for Peter-dildo) up to the light, she turned it slowly back and forth in front of her face, studying it with the sociopathic concentration of a cut-rate Bond villain.
You will pay for your crimes, Peter Lee.
She inserted it between her legs. In less than a minute, she’d worked herself up to a raging orgasm.
Once she was done, she held the pildo up and stared at it again. As the material broke down, Peter’s features went from angry to sad. She was quivering from aftershocks, but she paid them no mind; this was her favorite part.
That’s right, you cuntpunter—you fucked with the wrong cheerleader.
She gripped the shaft and pushed her thumb against Peter’s brow. His head snapped off like a cheaply made Eberhard #2.
A shuddering moan escaped her lips.
I can’t wait to destroy you.
Kor’Thank spun into a crouch, shooting his greatsword past his armpit and into the belly of an attacking Orc. As he released his weapon it seesawed away, still lodged in his enemy’s torso.
The king leapt to his feet and hammer-fisted another Orc on the bridge of its nose, knocking its eyes clean from their sockets. The Orc gibbered and screamed, its eyeballs flopping on its cheeks like macabre Endyear ornaments.
Krul’Dar, a dozen yards away, started in alarm. Kor’Thank had lost his sword—a sure sign he was in dire straits. He turned to the royal escort—the squad of Indashi guardsmen assigned to accompany Kor’Thank. They were chatting and playing boulder-parchment-blades, bored as usual by Kor’Thank’s workout.
“NO!” Kor’Thank roared. “NOCK YOUR BOW AND I’LL PUNCH YOU IN THE ARM!” He ducked a sweeping slash and threw a leg-kick, splitting an Orc’s femur into red-washed jags that poked through the skin. It went down screaming and spitting.
The guardsmen, some of whom had snatched an arrow from their quivers, re-holstered their missiles just as quickly. An arm-punch from Kor’Thank was no small thing; it would mean a month in a sling, followed by half a year of rehabilitation. When exchanging fisticuffs with Kor’Thank, there was no such thing as “blocking a strike.”
An Orc jumped onto Kor’s back, grabbing a fistful of hair and exposing his throat. Kor’Thank bowed forward and twitched backward in a powerful leap. When he touched down, he sandwiched the Orc between his muscled body and the unforgiving earth. The Orc screamed as its ribs broke with a resonant CR-CR-CR-CRACK.
Kor’Thank rolled off. Krul glimpsed bloody bones protruding from the Orc’s chest, clutching at the air like witch’s fingers.
“COME AT ME!” Kor’Thank yelled. He reached under another Orc’s kilt, yanked its genitals off, and blattered it across the face with its own scrotum. “GIVE ME A CHALLENGE, GODS DAMN YOU!” He dropped an assailant with a left hook to the liver, then stuffed a fistful of its own cock into its mouth. The king slipped a stab, gouged a throat, and ripped out a gore-covered vertebra.
Finally, there was but a single Orc left. It lay on its belly, face turned sideways. Its eyes were closed but it was still alive, evidenced by the rise and fall of its green torso. Kor’Thank knelt down, pulling its head back by its warrior’s queue.
The Orc’s eyes fluttered open. Its fearsome underbite hung loosely down. Its fangs—they would typically extend an inch up its cheeks—barely touched its upper lip.
“You picked the wrong day to raise my ire,” he hissed, shaking the Orc by its queue. “Where’s your horde? WHERE?”
Kor’Thank shook it again. “Lies—LIES!” He stood up, pulling the Orc by its hair until its feet dangled above the earth. “WHERE ARE THEY???”
“I…agh!” It tried to pry Kor’Thank’s hand off its scalp. “I…speak…AGH! TRUTH!”
Kor’Thank dropped the Orc and it fell to its knees, rubbing its leathery skull with yellowed claws. The king stared at the monster, his chest heaving in heavy pants. Two years ago, he’d repelled an offensive by the Orc Alliance. Now, stragglers were all that was left. Mopping them up was a task suited for first-year guardsmen. They could use the practice; he’d had plenty.
So let them do it.
The thought resonated dimly through his mind…but it was washed away by a tide of rage. He raised a fist and cocked it up to his ear.
The Orc flinched, shielding its face with its scaly hands. “Quarter,” it rumbled. “I beg quarter.”
For a long, tense moment, Kor’Thank kept staring. Then he extended a hand.
The Orc took it and rose to its feet.
“Your name, Human, so that I may inform my people of your strength and prowe—”
“My name means nothing,” Kor’Thank snapped. “I am naught but a soldier.”
The Orc raised a wart-speckled eyebrow. “I have yet to witness a soldier as formidable as—”
“Go.” A flap of the arm. “Before I change my mind and pull your guts through your nose.”
The Orc turned and ran. Kor’Thank watched it flee, his mammoth hands hanging by his hips. Unsurprisingly, his men had all found something to do; they were studiously avoiding his wrathful gaze.
The king turned on his heel and strode to his war-raptor. He shook the saddle, ensuring it was seated, then leapt up onto Bitefighter’s back.
“Mount up!” he called. “Killing Orcs rouses my thirst!”
The barbarians scrambled atop their raptors. Kor’Thank squeezed Bitefighter’s flanks with his striated thighs, and the troop set off for the nearest town—Olgor—which lay three leagues west.
As they rode, the Indashi guardsmen exchanged excited looks. Of late, the king had become increasingly fickle; the men didn’t know if they were in for a grueling training session or whether they’d watch Kor’Thank get his workout in by going on a rampaging kill-fest. A trip to the pub was a welcome treat.
“HYAAAHH!” Kor’Thank urged Bitefighter on. His men did the same. As their raptors’ talons beat the dusty earth, gritty particulate funneled skyward, heralding their passage with a low-hanging haze.
Kor’Thank chugged another stein of ale. Krul’Dar—sitting directly to his right—gave him a worried look.
“Kor…don’t you think that—”
“Don’t I think what?” The king’s bloodshot eyes bored into Krul’s. “We’ve laid low every threat, great and small. Flaysac’s bandits,” he muttered, facing forward again. “They’re all that’s left.”
“We have discussed this,” Krul said. “His men have fortified those mountains. A war with Flaysac would gut our military.”
Kor’Thank sighed. “I know. It’s just—”
“We are free to enjoy ourselves.” Krul’Dar looked over his shoulder and stared at the troop, all of who were slurping ale and chattering boisterously. It wouldn’t be long before they started wrestling. “And yet I worry. There is one Indashi who—”
Kor’Thank scoffed. “You nag me like an old crone in a tired parable.”
Krul replied with a measured look. “You must find a new challenge, one that has naught to do with Flaysac. Otherwise, you will become like every tyrant you’ve ever vanquished.”
“I will never.” Kor’Thank snarled. He gulped the rest of his ale and gestured for another. The innkeeper slid him a fresh stein.
“It is not a question of willpower,” Krul said. “ ’Tis simply our nature—we wither without struggle. The greatest hell rests on the ceiling of heaven, not in the dark of the Eternal Abyss. For as deep as you go into the realms of misery, you can still crawl up.” He took a deep breath. “You are in grave peril, my liege.”
“I told you—call me by my name; enough with the employ fancy-sounding—”
“I cannot. For in this matter, I am your dutiful servant.”
Kor’Thank fell silent. He looked again at his Indashi soldiers. They were brave warriors, one and all. Yet as he watched them laugh and drink, he couldn’t help but condemn them.
They’re soft. Weak. They need harsher training. They need—
Krul laid a hand on Kor’Thank’s wrist. “Kor. What fires your gaze with such malice?”
Kor looked down. “I…nothing.” He gave Krul a weak smile. “Innkeeper!” He reached into a lizard-skin pouch affixed to his waist and withdrew a gold drogo. It bore a rough semblance of his face on one side, and a snarling velociraptor on the other. He held it up and yelled, “Another round!”
The innkeeper stepped forward, hands folded meekly in front of his waist. “I lack the change for an entire drogo, my king, if you have something a bit sma—”
“Keep the change, you dundernonce!” Kor’Thank snapped.
The innkeeper took the money and shuffled away.
Krul trailed him with his eyes, then looked at Kor’Thank. “A little harsh, don’t you think?”
“I am the Indashi king,” Kor’Thank retorted. “My subjects should be grateful I don’t march them through the Rakarian Bogs.”
Krul shook his head in quiet dismay. “Many do so of their own accord. There are countless youth groups dedicated to following your example.”
A mean glint arose in Kor’Thank’s eyes. “So they want to be me, eh? They want to traipse around the countryside and rip apart weaklings?” He gulped his beer, then wiped his mouth with his hairy knuckles. “Akanax’s balls!” He made a fist and slammed the counter. “There’s no peace in battle…and none in victory! I need…I need…”
He looked guilty, then dour.
“I need another beer.” He turned to the innkeeper. “Ho! Another round—and make it fast, gods damn you!”
Another beer was placed before him, and he drank it down in a single draught. “Another!”
A second stein came sliding across the counter. Kor’Thank didn’t drink this one. Instead, he stared moodily at its foaming head, watching the froth calm and vanish. Soon, he found himself staring into the beer’s surface, locking gazes with his distorted reflection.
“I need a worthy opponent,” he muttered. “One I can match my sword-arm against without destroying the entire kingdom.”
“You’ll find none in there,” Krul said.
Kor’Thank grimaced. Gulped down his beer.
He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
So what in the Seven Hells am I supposed to DO?