Saturday, June 29, 2013

Of Demons & Cowboys

Upon the barren plains,

   Of a dry and desolate wasteland of the world's most Southern continent there walked a lone gunman. His hat was wide of rim and brown with a flat top, it and a yellow, black and white checked scarf hid his face well from any who paid him any notice. His baby blue and brick orange checked collared tunic sleeves were rolled up and the collar stuck out on one side along his neck above the scarf. Atop that he wore a tan brown and tiny egg shell blue pin stripped waistcoat, his trousers were once blue but were weather worn stained white and grey from dust and smoke, his belt was hazel brown with gold skulls upon it and his shoes were thin rubber soled black and tan leather flats, devoid of a stinger or spur.

     Like many of the modern day warriors of the Southern Continent once known as Africa, the demon carried a revolver, though not one that fired typical ammunitions. Most all casings and gunpowder were done away with at the end of the final world war, when the magic of the universe was resurrected by the melting of the polar ice caps and rained down upon the earth, changing everything.

      Each of the six chambers that once held bullets was now a cylinder for a single shot laser cannister, which slowly recharged over the course of several hours. It was the same for Shotguns, though their double or pump action barrels fit single shells that would have to be put into a case charger fitted to the belt, though very few cowboys had this equipment, most just had to wait for the shells to recharge. Often whilst waiting, they ended up dead.

     Generally the land had three types of cowboy who roamed the plains, the skilled one whose dedication to the way of the gun paid off with accurate shots, the maniac who had somehow collected a recharger or a myriad of weapons who won his life by firing as many bullets as possible, usually just the mere look of such a deviant was enough to scare off any foe. Then there were those who had a gun, but it was merely for show. Always strung to their hip or underarm in a well decorated holster, rarely, if ever, cleaned or fired. These men were the folk of cities, where battles were fought and won by the local justice, but just in case, they carried.

      For years our traveller circled to reach this place again, where his rebirth began, where the gunfighter was reborn. Most didn't survive their first fight, surrendering their last breath to the laser blades of revolver bullets or a flash of scattered shotgun short beams. The old ways of duelling had ended when the last of the gentlemen died to the trigger happy fools who had rekindled an inspired dedication in rogue warriors to seek skill and patience in the way of the quick draw. Indeed it was the only way to defeat someone with more shots than you.  

     What once was known as Africa was left in solitude by the kingdoms and empires of the other remaining inhabited continents. For the wars upon it's shores were not bound to laws but prejudice, mere contests of arms, for amusement. From the top most kingdom to the lowest street scum, it mattered not if you were born demon, human, dwarf or elf nor even reanimated undead; all that mattered was how much fire power you were packing.

     Jaghoul stood on the edge of town staring down the lone boulevard beyond the massive gate and high walls, the place seemed devoid of life save for the movement of dust in the wind. To enter the oasis city meant certain death, a cesspool for scoundrels, bottom feeders, bounty hunters and rogues all seeking glory at the edge of the world.

     In the distance an airship, a flying wooden vessel made in the image of ancient ocean fairing ships, often with cloth wings and a levistone or hot air balloon instead of any sails, was rising into the skies. It was a majestic thing to watch the ships take off into the open air on a voyage to the floating continents or to some abandoned mine in search of treasure, though rarely to war.

     Large scale battle was a thing of the past, king pins and jesters ruled the lands beside necromancers and emperors, power had long ago surrendered itself to those who inhabited the bars of the city streets, to the mercenary, for there weren't enough citizens on the continent to make up armies from, let alone get them to wage war against one another for some rich scum's plot to overthrow his neighbour's town for the sake of image or meagre monetary gain.

     Today was different though, Jaghoul had come to the birth place of his resurrection to begin a quest, a journey into the perilous dark realms of the forlorn continent. Seeking to answer a simple question, who pulled the strings on rebirth, from man into immortal... From corpse to lich?

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