The Middle Times:
Red War Pt.1 Upon Land...
D. S. MacLeod
This is a work of a fiction. Names, characters, places, things and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Herald the Warning Near & Far
Lôrry races hastily back through the southern portion of Hathûrwood for reaching the hidden tunnel connecting his Kappa kingdom of Hathûrdain to Ederland. The darkness of night hinders his progress after departing his new friends and fatigue finally takes over his body. After finding a tall Whipper Willow tree to climb up in for safety, he falls to sleep while gazing upward at the blood red beam arching across the sky. “Whatever does it mean?” He whispers under his breath warily. His thoughts return to Elray’s haunting warning for King Donga…the one he must deliver urgently. Even by Yama, the trip will take days. Does the realm have several days?” He wonders worriedly. “Where does this red beam of doom come from and where is it going? Is it Ederland?” Later, deep within his dreams, he imagines the red beam’s gloomy final landing point to be not in Ederland, but at his own kingdom of Hathûrdain. Finally reaching the castle Hâlgost within his dreams, the red beam saturates the tiny castle from afar making it glow red within the darkness of night. Further odd is the lack of guards stationed at their posts. Desperately but gladdened he enters the castle slowly as the two doors creak open noisily. Entering he again finds no Kappa guards present anywhere. “Something is not right here.” He whispers worriedly. He stops in his tracks and heralds demandingly. “Salutations fellow Kappa…” He pauses and listens to his voice echo through the corridors. “I say is there not anyone here?” He sarcastically questions aloud. Cautiously he proceeds towards the main chamber where King Donga should be. The inside halls are pitch dark with exception to the red glow penetrating through the small window openings throughout the castle. Lôrry pauses at a doorway and peers into the grand hall featuring the grand eating hall. Through the dimly lit chamber, he views a figure resembling King Donga sitting upon his grand pillow and facing the back wall. A solitary beam of red light highlights the king as Lôrry approaches timidly. Not wanting to startle his king, Lôrry speaks a salutation aloud. “Great King Donga, it is I Lôrry. I return to you now with most a most urgent warning from Elray the Yellow.” The figure does not acknowledge his presence. Frustratingly for all his troubles to arrive with the news, he steps forward and announces honorably. “Great Donga is your ears filled with dirt and mist? I bear most urgent information from the yellow wizard…a warning of impending war!” Lôrry spreads his arms out desperately trying to gain Donga’s attention. He has never seen the king so despondent before.
No response comes forth from the king of the Kappa as Lôrry confusingly scratches his baldhead. He takes two more steps, pounds his foot against the floor and repeats his greeting annoyingly. King Donga continues staring at the back wall dejectedly. Soon a slow unfeeling groan mumbles forth from King Donga followed by a long deep breath. Exhaustedly, King Donga finally acknowledges Lôrry. “So, my little wayward guide…you finally deemed it necessary to return unto me have you after all this time?”
Confused by the king’s response, Lôrry takes a few steps forward towards the elevated stage of Donga’s royal platform and responds curiously. “Yes, great king I have returned unto you with a most urgent warning from the yellow wizard.” Expecting Donga to respond accordingly to the arrival of urgent news, Lôrry feels perplexed by the king remaining to cast his gaze towards the back wall. “May I ask why the castle seems so deserted Sire? Upon my departure, Hâlgost was lively and vibrant, but now all but an empty shell. Privy, tell me how can this be?” Continuing to expect King Donga to turn and face him, Lôrry begins feeling uncomfortable over his king’s odd behavior.
A sinister chuckle harkens forth from King Donga as he replies hastily. “Ah little Lôrry, so much has changed since your departure with the wizard and his comrades so long ago…”
Baffled by Donga’s remark, Lôrry interrupts worriedly. “…But Sire, I left here but a mere week ago. The secret tunnel into Ederland saved us valuable time. I must admit I may have lost track of time on my way back, but you speak as if I have been gone for years.” Lôrry begins pondering his memories and suddenly realizes he does not know exactly he did return.
Again chuckling softly under his breath while staring at the back wall, Donga states ardently aloud. “Try months dear Lôrry...the warning you bravely deliver unto me is sadly too late. How nice it would have been to receive your warning in a timelier manner.” Donga pauses and adds nonchalantly. “We stopped looking for you weeks ago.”
Stupefied by Donga’s response, Lôrry manages to stutter a response. “B-but, my king…I swear I raced back here without stopping along the way…it could not have been months…I needed urgently to tell you…”
“…That an invasion against our mighty realm was coming swiftly. As you already noticed my observant scout, Hâlgost is merely an empty shell now. It appears your news is a little too tardy. Would you care to know why there are no Kappa present here anymore?”
Growing increasingly alarmed by Donga’s words, Lôrry notices how much larger his king appears than he remembers. His body appears to be larger than the finely adorned pillow that he usually sits upon, which is not what he remembers. “Yes my devout king, please enlighten me...did the Morân kill everyone but you?”
A sinister laugh bellows forth from Donga as he slowly stands atop his royal pillow. He continues unwarily to stare at the back wall of the castle and replies bitterly. “No, the Morân had nothing to do with the scourge that decimated this castle loyal Lôrry. A terrible plague of ravenous hunger infested Hâlgost.”
Lôrry replies shockingly while studying the huge weight gain of Donga since he last saw him. “How terrible my king…yet you appear quite fed my master.”
A sinister snicker bellows forth from King Donga. “Indeed my astute scout for you sees it was I...” Donga hesitates momentarily while turning around for finally facing Lôrry. Lôrry horridly gasps aloud at the hideous sight standing before him as the king of the Kappa pats his enormous belly while admitting satisfactorily. “…I consumed the entire population of Kappa here at Hâlgost.” With saliva dripping from his fanged mutated teeth, Donga proclaims aloud excitingly. “And I must say my ravenous insatiable appetite groans greedily for one more bite!”
Lôrry cringes dreadfully as an inescapable feeling of fear overwhelms his body entirely. He feels frozen in place and cannot believe his eyes. Shrieking frightfully aloud horrendously, he turns around to escape but his feet does not cooperate. Nearly tripping to escape after screaming at his feet to move, he glances over his shoulder fearfully and views the sharp gaping teeth of his king preparing to devour him. “No, King Donga please do not eats me up!”
The Full Story is out now March 2013
Copyright 2010-13 DSMacLeod
The Middle Times Tales & Legends. All rights reserved.
All images provided courtesy of the author and may not be used without permission.