Outside, on the grasslands of the Howling Fjord, King Dred
and a small troop of raptors stalk across the landscape with a malicious hunger burning in their eyes. Some mysterious force has brought them far from their jungle home, pressing them relentlessly onward in a strange and winding path toward the great stronghold of Utgarde, which they now approach with an increasing sense of purpose. The scent of freshly spilt blood is heavy in the air. It beckons them, calls to them, and breathes into them an inexorable lust for carnage.
From the throne room, King Ymiron hears the slow, thudding rhythm grow into what sounds like the crash of falling boulders. The accompanying tremors swell to unsettling proportion, and his sword clatters to the floor from its resting place. What new machination could this be, he wonders. The very air vibrates with each pulse of the thunderous cacophony outside. Ymiron picks up his sword as his body floods with adrenaline, and he prepares himself for the coming onslaught.
It is now that the gate to Ymiron's throne room is dashed to pieces. The impossibly gargantuan head of a great reptile thrusts itself through and is shortly followed by an even larger body, while other, smaller lizards pour through the shattered door. King Ymiron's mind reels at the sight of these terrible creatures, but he forces himself to regain composure, summoning every iota of power in his aged body for one final battle.
The raptors throw themselves at Ymiron and are met only with cruel, unbending strength. The first is cleanly decapitated. The gut of the second is sliced open, and the beast's entrails spill out as it falls. Ymiron charges toward the two remaining raptors, planting his sword in one and crushing the head of the other against the floor. Knowing well that he must stay in motion if he is to have any hope of evading the maw of the hulking colossus, he retrieves his sword and barrels toward King Dred, who bears down on him now with gaping jaws. King Dred's teeth snap together as Ymiron swerves to dodge them, but the old Vrykul is too slow, it seems. Dred latches onto one of Ymiron's legs and begins to shake him ... but Dred feels a sudden, unfamiliar and searing pain.
As Ymiron feels the grasp of the tyrant lizard's fangs on his leg, his insides scream, but he does not panic. Finding an opportunity to at least steady himself, Ymiron thrusts his free fist through King Dred's eye socket and grips the orbit. He had not become a King, after all, without first enduring a thousand horrible agonies, maintaining perfect self-control throughout each of them. Though he feels himself quickly losing blood and energy, King Ymiron takes aim and drives his sword into the monster's skull. With a mournful groan, King Dred lurches forward. His jaw slackens as he begins to topple. Ymiron, nigh unconscious and on the brink of death, tumbles out of King Dred's mouth, to the floor beside it. At this point, he has only the presence of mind to bind his wound and pray to the death god for mercy. Pollux follows up with a second, somewhat less sober version of the scene. Pollux
: Upon catching wind of the approaching threat, King Ymiron sets up a giant meat trap in the middle of Utgarde Pinnacle, with explosive charges hidden at the bottom of a stack of bloodied Shoveltusk corpses. He hides inside one of the longboats and waits. It doesn't take long before King Dred is drawn into the castle by the scent of decaying flesh.
Scraaaaaaaaaaaaaape ... Scraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaape ... Scraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaape ... King Dred enters in stealth mode, with his head lowered to the ground and his great big feet kind of scooting him forward like an inchworm. "Something in this rustic old castle smells awfully delectable," he thinks to himself. "I'll just pop in and see if I can maybe grab a bite and give my compliments to the chef before going outside again to get a better look at that beautiful waterfall they've installed."
Scraaaaaaaaaaaape ... Scraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaape ... Scoot, scoot, scraaaaaaaaaaaaaaape ... By the time King Dred finally makes it to the pile of Shoveltusks, he's become a little bit bloodlusty. The scent of slaughtered livestock has perked him up to the point of certifiable insanity. Sugarplum fairies are dancing around his head, taunting him. When the meat comes into view, he's completely unable to restrain himself, and he scrambles back up to his feet, galloping toward the veritable steak garden. He starts guzzling down the feast.
"SHOO! SHOO, YOU GREAT MONGREL! THOSE SHOVELTUSKS AREN'T FOR YOU, MANGY PUP!!" King Ymiron leaps out of the longboat and charges at King Dred, waving his arms and shouting. King Dred knows the man is coming, but he tries to gulp down a few more mouthfuls ... THWAP! King Ymiron whacks Dred on the muzzle with his open palm. Stunned and ashamed, King Dred scuttles away from the meat pile, toward the door.
"OUT!!! GET OUT OF MY HALL, YOU GRIMY THING!!! CAN'T YOU READ THE SIGN ON THE BLOODY DOOR?? NO BIPEDAL REPTILES!!!!!!!"
King Dred slinks outside, closing the door behind him just in time for it to catch a dinner platter, thrown by one of the wandering slaves. Wiping his mouth off, Dred looks back to see a little note on the front door. He has to lean close to read it (eyes aren't what they used to be); "No bikes, skateboards, rollerskates, spiders, Visigoths or bipedal reptiles in the Pinnacle. Thank you!"
Back in the throne room, King Ymiron climbs back into a longboat and patiently resumes his vigil, waiting for the in-laws to arrive. Other readers lent a few sentiments that many of us should be able to relate to. rtm_mike
: King Dred wins twelve times, but the Red Sword of Courage
still doesn't drop. Nizari
: It ends in a tie,
And I'll tell you why.
Bane and Dark Slash will King Dred,
But Ymiron can't heal, the bleeds leave him dead. Pollux
: While I don't agree with your view,
A rhyme scheme is too cool to pooh-pooh.
I dare say I'll give you mad props,
But that's where I'll stop. In the end, Tyler comes up with an ending that should satisfy many. Tyler
: As King Dred approaches King Ymiron's throne, Ymiron gets an odd look on his face, complete with a half-smile. Dred roars his defiance and summons a half dozen raptors to his defense, confused as to why Ymiron has yet to raise his weapon.
As Dred approaches with his raptor companions, Ymiron continues his path of inaction. When at last the raptors are about to strike, Ymiron lets out a bone-curdling scream. Paralyzed, Dred can only watch in horror as the events unfold.
Ymiron grabs his weapon and holds it high in the sky. "Lich King, hear my plea! Give me the power to tame this beast, that I may ravage your enemies and bring more enslaved souls to your cause!" For a moment, it seems as if his please will be ignored. Just as it seems King Dred may free himself from his paralyzed state, Ymiron's eyes began to glow blue as the spirit of the Lich King flows through him.
From Ymiron's body erupts a cold, heartless voice of great power. "It is I, the Lich King. You will submit to my will, King Dred. You will carry King Ymiron into battle, and together, you will wreak havoc." Dred makes a motion to resist but is quickly stopped when Ymiron grabs him and holds his face near his. Blue mists race from Ymiron's eyes and enter King Dred as he inhales. Closing his eyes, Dred roars in fury. But alas, when his eyes open, they too glow blue the with spirit of the Lich King.
From Ymiron's body the voice emerges once more, "You are mine. Go forth and devour my enemies." The blue light fades away, and Ymiron smiles at his new pet.
Without a word, he hops on King Dred's back, and the two ride out of the castle to wage war.