Fragile Gods – Scene 2

Jek was pleasantly sore from a day spent at harvest. The last remnants of light hadn’t yet faded, but he had already finished several more acres than he’d planned. All he wanted now was a warm meal and a bed, and to spend some time with his wife and daughters. He caught the eyes of his two farmhands and gave them the signal to pack it in, then drove his wheelbarrow into the storehouse one last time.

No sooner had he begun to lay the seedheads out on a stretch of cloth when he heard a startled cry from outside.

“Jek!” called Vaek, one of the farmhands. “Jek, get out here! You ought to see this!”

Alarmed, Jek dropped the seed in his hand and rushed outside. He had no real idea what to expect, but a wildfire was his biggest fear; it would take another two weeks to finish the harvest. If he lost the crop now, his livelihood for the year would vanish like smoke on the wind.

There was no fire though, just Vaek and Pep standing together, looking awed by something away in the distance. Jek followed their gaze.

Beyond his Amaranth fields of green seasoned with red, one of the Drim was approaching.

This was only the third Drim Jek had seen in his life, and he would have wagered it was the first his younger farmhands had ever seen. The others had appeared to be made of water; this one appeared to be made of black and grey clouds, but it kept the same humanoid shape. Its size was impossible to judge at this distance, but there was no denying it was immense, towering over Jek’s fields and farmhouse like they were toys.

“You lucky bastard,” Pep breathed as Jek walked over to join them, unable to suppress a smile.

“A good omen on the first day of the harvest,” Jek agreed. “The gods favor me this year.”

“They must,” Pep agreed absently.

“What do you suppose it’s doing here?” Vaek asked.

“Maybe it came to bless my crop,” Jek suggested.

“Do they act on their own?” Vaek asked with a frown. “I thought they were controlled by the priests.”

“The priests don’t control them,” Jek said. “They just communicate. Ask for favors.”

“Did a priest to offer to bless your lands?” Vaek asked.

“No,” Jek replied in wonderment.

The Drim advanced steadily in roughly their direction. Though still hundreds of yards away, it was now close enough that they could hear thunder emanating from it whenever lightning flashed within, illuminating its cloudy gray mass from inside-out in a bizarre display.

“That’s the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen,” Pep said reverently. They watched in silence for a moment as it came closer, wondering whether it would come directly onto Jek’s lands, and what that would mean if it did.

“Do you think it knows to stay away from the house?” Vaek asked quietly.

“I have no idea,” Jek said, suddenly uneasy. The Drim was nearing the house; whether deliberately or not, it was impossible to say. But each step brought it a little bit closer.

Drim had never been known to harm humans, and Jek told himself there was no cause for alarm. But fear began to seize him as each step brought the Drim came closer. Even if it was incapable of intentional wrongdoing, the behemoth could still crush Jek’s home and wife and daughters with a single careless step.

“I’d better get the girls,” he decided aloud, and broke into a trot towards the farmhouse.

“I’ll help,” Vaek said grimly, falling in beside him.

“Hey, wait!” Pep called from behind, but whether to stop them or to catch up with them, Jek never learned.

Time seemed to falter as the Drim reached the house, standing beside it for just a moment. Jek seized that moment, and turned his trot to run, calling at the top of his lungs for wife.

“Eldra! Get out of the house, bring the girls! NOW!”

But by now he could hear another sound coming from the Drim, like that of the low wind just before a thunderstorm. There was no way the girls would hear Jek’s shouting over that, especially inside the house.

Before Jek was within a hundred yards, the Drim pulled back a leg and let fly a vicious kick, aimed directly at the farmhouse. The three-story structure splintered like matchsticks, debris flying in a hundred directions and flattening Jek’s crop where it landed.

Jek halted, turning cold inside. Vaek stopped short beside him, but Jek hardly noticed.

“Why?” he screamed at the monstrosity, his voice cracking in the dull roar of wind.

As if in answer, the Drim raised a cloudy hand and pointed a smoky finger at Jek and Vaek. Blue lightning arced from the tip of that finger to Jek, and it was the last thing he ever saw.

Vaek fell too, and Pep turned to flee but a second bolt of lightning took him in the back, and he toppled forward, face down.

Ignited, Jek’s fields began to burn.

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  • Elibazeth

    I have questions before critique. Are we going to see these characters again, or are they just all dead?

  • Jason R. Peters

    All dead. And rather crispy, now, too.

    /evil DM

  • Broaddus

    Never ever give away a certainty! They APPEAR dead, but maybe if you need them in the future, they were nursed back to health by a friendly field mouse and its family…

  • quite harsh warming us readers up to such a lovable farmer and his hapless hands, only to kill them off with such sterility. In fact you might even say I’m deeply wounded by it. I’m just not sure if I can trust won’t hurt me again. I need time to think about this, after all we’ve been through, it… it will be the best thing for us both. In the end it will be the best thing.
    Goodbye Jason…
    Goodbye.

    In all seriousness though, you’re overhauled work is a significant improvment over this. Nice job.

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