Location: Blackwood Forest
Sometimes the course of history is determined when men of action risk everything in a bold play to change the fates (1), but more often than not it’s determined by, shall we say, more nefarious means. Such was the case with Hacktor’s little war. If you remember, I laid plans in place nearly a century before that culminate in such a war because I wanted to gather bones I could use to interrogate in my Necronomicon death communals. My goal was to learn more about Dagaal without Gwar finding out, and it didn’t hurt that I’d get a near limitless supply of fresh souls to gorge myself with. But the fact is that after twenty-some years of war, the Derkka and the Drokka had combined to contribute nearly a million bodies to my cause. It was far more than I would ever need – in fact, most of these casualties simply went to waste, unneeded and therefore unused by me, and in truth, largely forgotten as well. In short, the deaths of these mostly young men were largely pointless – their blooms were cut short before they ever had a chance to flower and soon even the memory of them was forgotten. Never would they walk on your world again, never would you know what good they could have contributed (2).
Did I care about any of that? Not really.
The point is that I didn’t need Hacktor and his war any longer. And not wanting to give Gwar a reason to keep hanging out my lands, I decided it was high time to end The War of the Ghast. Therefore I spent a bit of time with the Derkka and gave them a new strategy… one that would have devastating (and quite permanent) consequences for Hacktor and his people.
Thus it was that in the winter of AO320, Hacktor received an enjoy from his rival Garrick of The Golden Hand, Marduk of the Derkka, proposing that their two clans meet in a final battle that would determine once and for all which side would get control of Blackwood Forest. I should probably also mention that during this same winter, Mirkir summoned Hacktor to Iztak for an urgent meeting with The Spirit of the Well of Wyzdom — it was there that I gave Hacktor a secret tip: how to use the <power> of the name Shedu Mazai in battle and thus transform The Ghast into such a weapon of mass destruction that Hacktor Derkillez would trigger a cataclysmic event upon the battlefield – destroying all mortal life as far as the eye could see. As I explained to the Kon-Herr, he could use this trick but one time, and that if he chose to use it, there was no turning back.
Battle-hardened though he was by this time in his life, even Hacktor was shaken when he realized the power I’d place in his hands. And yet, he did not shirk from his task…nor did he reveal the truth to Mirkir during his exit interview with the priest, nor to his wife Hecla when he arrived back home. In short, Hacktor remained my loyal soldier and was committed to doing the duty that his destiny required.
After receiving Garrick’s invitation to fight, Hacktor was not only eager to have a chance to battle against Garrick mano a mano at long last, but he was also nigh ravenous to conclude his war with victory – for he knew this was the only way his name could be mentioned with the greats of his people. He therefore quickly sent his own envoy back to Garrick, accepting his offer for the Battle of Blackwoods and challenging the Derkka king to single combat to prove his manhood.
Clearly, the spring of AO321 couldn’t come quickly enough.
When the time for the battle finally arrived, Hacktor Derkillez, Kon-Herr Drokka of the Rhokki’s, The Great Ghastwielder, rode on his pony at the head of an army nearly 150,000 strong, the best and brightest (that remained) from seven surviving kingdoms of The Rhokii’s. (3)
Out from the gates of The Siq, Hacktor’s great army rode, heading for Blackwood Forest. All were in high spirits for it was now common knowledge that this would be the final campaign in the war, and given that Hacktor and his Ghast lead the way, everyone was certain that victory alone awaited them…and the glory that accompanied it.
Although Hacktor had led his men on raids throughout Gor and Kra during the past twenty years (4), this trip was much shorter – for Blackwood Forest ran nigh to the borders of the Drokka’s land, and to reach the agreed upon battle site was but a week’s journey for Hacktor’s army. The thought of such an easy road only further served to increase the spirit of the Drokka’s.
Thus it was that when a band of Derk, perhaps a mere 1,000 strong happened to foolishly attacked the flank of Hacktor’s forward guard on the fourth day of their march into the woods, the Kon-Herr not only gave his men leave to ‘utterly demolish’ the miscreants but he also raced forward in order to personally lead the charge — eager for his first taste of blood this spring.
Yet whether the Derk realized their mistake or whether it was for other reasons, after a brief, rather disorganized assault, their company of men was already retreating by the time King Hacktor arrived. Enraged at the affront, and afraid he was going to miss out on an opportunity to knock a few Derk heads around, Hacktor instructed the main army to continue on their journey towards the agreed upon battle site, whilst he took a few hundred troops of his cavalry and raced after the Derk, deeper into the forest.
“Follow me.” He roared. “We can’t let them get away with this insult to Rhokii!”
Even though they had numbers on their side, it soon became obvious that the Derkka were more intent on running than fighting – a cowardly trait incensed Hacktor all the more. As the morning unfolded, the Kon-Herr and his men caught up to the Derk, whittled away their rear guard, and then overtook their main lines. Hacktor’s troops cut down the enemy without mercy until eventually, less than 100 remained.
The woods were thick in these parts, but with the Drokka calvary in hot pursuit, the Derkka had by now given up any sign of resistance and were soon howling for their lives. Up and over a densely forested hilltop they scrambled, then down towards an enclosed valley, and still, Hacktor followed. Finally, seeing the Derk race towards a small clearing, at last Hacktor knew he had them – for once their rivals emerged into that open glade, there would be no way for them to escape the Drokka’s final wrath!
“For the might of Rhokii!” The Kon-Herr bellowed out, tasting the sweetness of a fruit that had long eluded his –Victory.
Yet of a sudden, the tables were turned – for as the Drokka followed their enemies into the circular clearing, suddenly out from the opposite woods emerged a massive host of Derkka and Myz warriors – their ranks so vast as to be uncountable (5)! And yet, to Hacktor’s great surprise, he espied a sight even worse — for upon a small hillock, overlooking the scene that was about to unfold, there appeared a man upon horseback – not just any man, upon any old nag, but instead an Adonis of a Derk, his powerful form encased in a spectacular golden plate that was so intricately engraved as to make it appear as if the man’s muscles were pulsing through the armor itself. His mount was fitted with the same clearly magical armor. Hacktor didn’t need to see the standard bearer’s flag to know that this could only be Garrick – High King of the Drokka.
All too late did Hacktor realize that he had led his little band of Drokka warriors into a death trap — and with his main army now miles away, heading to a battle site that was now nothing more than a wild goose chase, the final door to Hacktor’s fate had just been closed, sealing his fate.
<YAAARRRGGG!!!> The legion of Myz and Derks ran towards Hacktor’s group from the right. <Clang! Bash!> Metal met metal as the grey giants and the taller men slammed into the Drokka army — and a quarter of Hacktor’s troops were lost in that initial onslaught!
<Ba-roooom! Ba-roooom!> A handful of Drokka desperately blew on their warhorns, calling for reinforcements.
Outnumbered, outmatched, and attacked from all sides, the best Hacktor could hope for was that his warriors would be able to maintain their ranks long enough for a few to escape and get word to the rest of the army.
In spite of their situation, not a single Drokka lost courage — all were armed with Ghasts, and while they didn’t hold the power that Hacktor’s held, still they were fearsome weapons. Furthermore, the sight of Hacktor alone inspired them — for it was clear to the men on both sides that Hacktor Derkillez and his Ghast would not go quietly on this day. In fact, the more the Drokka king swung his magical battle axe, the more power he seemed to gain, and it became obvious that they were witnessing a weapon of immense power grow stronger and stronger.
But still the enemy attacked — for Ghast or ghasts, they knew their numbers were too strong to fail. They knew this war was about to end. And then it was that Garrick unleashed the Ghorbles (6) — these flying reptilian like bloodsuckers flew out of the trees with such a <whooosh!> and their numbers were so vast that their wings blocked out the sun. The sight of them finally caused panic among the Drokka ranks.
<Ba-roooom! Ba-ro-> soon the last Drokka with a war horn was silenced and before long, every Drokka in Hacktor’s guard was dead — he alone remained.
Yet still, Hacktor did not give up. Fighting bravely on, the king knew he was more than a match for any number of attackers — from the air or the land — for the immortal powers of The Ghast coursed through his body, filling him with a wellspring of power.
Spying Garrick still directing his army from that protected spot in the rear of the Derkka guard, Hacktor lusted for a chance to get to his rival — and despite the odds, he actually believed he could survive to do it.
“Krrrrrrr! Fight you monsters!” Haktor swung his battle-axe and loped off the head of the nearest Myz who came within reach. “I am The Ghastwielder!”
Next, he swung overhead, and with a <BURST! PHOOSH! POP!> shredded the bodies of three Ghorbles in a row, grume and gore spraying in all directions as Hacktor meted out his anger.
“Challenge not the Drokka,” the Kon-Herr swung again, killing another Myz, as through gritted teeth he finished, “for Rhokii is MY god!”
Shocked at Hacktor’s Last Stand? Amazed at his strength?
Remember, The Ghast filled this legendary warrior with <Limitless Strength> and <Unending Endurance>, therefore it was a long while before Hacktor’s armor received anything more than a dent, as the blinding brightness of The Ghast seared through the air, protecting him from all harm.
And yet, there was a part of Hacktor, the flawed mortal man, who knew by now that he was all alone and that eventually, even he would taste death — yet none of that mattered. For Hacktor Derkillez was in his element – fighting a holy war against his people’s eternal enemies — thus, he continued doing the only action available to him: cutting down any Derk, Myz, or Ghorbles who came near!
In fact, for nearly twelve hours, so successful was Hacktor at holding his ground that, for a time, it seemed as if he might hold out until his army found him, or even, dare he dream, that he could perchance even win the day!
And indeed that was almost the case.
However, despite the might of The Ghast, or even the fact that Hacktor had personally dispatched over 1,000 Myz, tens of thousands of the Derk, and countless Ghorbles, nonetheless, the evil spawn never stopped their onslaught. So reckless was their attack that it was as if some unseen hand beyond just King Garrick that was forcing them to fight.
Thus Hacktor was forced to cut and chop, cut and chop, again and again, and again — for all told his enemies still outnumbered him over 100,000 to one!
In the end, those odds were simply too much even for The Ghast to save Hacktor (7). Eventually, the blows of his attackers got through more and more, and soon Hacktor’s black crystal armor began to show the telling scars of battle. He fought hard, but eventually — like all of his fallen brethren now long dead around him — Hacktor too was overcome.
Fortune finally turned a fickle face upon King Hacktor when an unseen blow from a faceless Myz at his rear bit deeply into his momentarily exposed left heel, causing him to lose his balance (and his concentration!) for but a moment. Yet then it was that Hacktor’s Iliad was lost, for in the instant before he could regain his composure, of a sudden five more attackers savaged in from the fore and rained down an onslaught of monstrous blows upon the Drokka king! And even as he turned back to fend them off it was too late because the final Myz blade found its mark – the grey menace chopping straight into Hacktor’s right forearm – severing it off at the wrist!
It looked as if that last blow would spell Hacktor’s doom — for he needed two hands to effectively wield the heavy Ghast and his attackers knew it. Backing away, they laughed as Hacktor’s arm spewed blood even as the Drokka king tried in vain to lift his precious axe with his one remaining hand.
A trumpet sounded and the Derkka army parted as King Garrick raced through the ranks to deal the final blow to Hacktor, yet just as he arrived, Hacktor raised The Ghast on high and put his every last effort into screaming out the name <Shedu Mazai>!
The result was instantaneous — Hacktor Derkillez’s body was empowered such that, with a final whirling swipe, he swung The Ghast and delivered such a death blow that every mortal creature for nigh a hundred leagues was destroyed — including the remainder of the Drokka’s army that, unbeknownst to Hacktor, was just emerging from the woods to come to his aid.
But now — all were gone. Even the Blackwoods (8) themselves had been wiped out as a result of Hacktor’s fateful blow!
In the end, only Hacktor and his rival Garrick remained — for lo, it appeared that Garrick’s magical armor (9) had protected him from Hacktor’s fury. Wasting no time, the enemies rushed towards one another – their hatred on full display.
“We are the same, you and I,” Garrick yelled, towering over his smaller rival, and thrusting a broadsword at Hacktor’s unprotected right side.
Hacktor knew Garrick’s words were true, but he could only grunt in reply, swinging The Ghast again and, though he knew it might be futile, calling on Shedu Mazai as his god to answer his prayer (10).
Hacktor’s effort proved true and this time The Ghast smashed through Garrick’s armor, mortally wounding the Derkka king. Yet Garrick was already rushing forward and as he finished his charged he caught Hacktor in a bear hug, plunging his own dagger into an opening of Hacktor’s ribcage in an area where his armor had long since been torn away.
“Was it worth it?” Garrick gasped, as he fell limp in Hacktor’s arms.
Falling to the ground himself, Hacktor was left to ponder that question. And yet, his troubles were only just beginning…
- At least the writers of your modern day history books would have you believe as such. The tale is always the same ‘Brave men who fought valiantly to protect truth and justice…blah blah blah.’ It’s fodder for the masses and you mindlessly eat it like the good little sheep you are. Never realizing that by focusing the narrative on the valor of said Brave Men, the real story (greed for control of resources) is hidden in the shadows…and thus the rich get richer off your backs. As I told you in the last chapter, when will you wake up to realize that History is…fluid.
- Apparently, you enjoy this sort of things because I’ve witnessed countless wars throughout your history in which the well-to-do older men of your societies feed the younger men into a War Machine that is not only great at destroying these potential threats to the older ruling class but also serves to line the pockets of the ruling elite – and yet strangely enough never seems to resolve the situation that you were ostensibly fighting about in the first place. It’s really a brilliant plan.
- By the way, before he ventured out, Hacktor had the scribes of Chaldea note in The Drokka Kroniklz that Hacktor’s army of 150,000 Drokka warriors was the largest force ever amassed by a Kon-Herr. That ‘truth’ required the scribes to comb through countless prior volumes of Kroniklz and secretly revise any past entries that showed a larger figure for a past army since such records were now ‘incorrect.’ This was quite a massive undertaking and required endless long hours for the scribes to complete – but their guild happily complied with Hacktor’s covert operation and dutifully showed the Kon-Herr the updates, thus allowing him to ‘truthfully’ proclaim that the army he was taking to fight Garrick of the Golden Hand was indeed the biggest Drokka force ever assembled. Yes Hacktor had the truth of The Kroniklz to back up his words – well, at least for the time he was Kon-Herr and before the scribes later changed them back.
- As with your modern day wars, Hactor’s original mission (to secure Blackwood Forest) was largely forgotten, in favor of other pursuits that allowed him to extend the war to include goals that stretched far beyond the people’s initial understanding.
- In their effort to glorify the tragedy of Hacktor’s Last Stand, the Drokka Kroniklz later estimated Garrick’s forces that day to be nearly a million strong – I’d say it was closer to 200k, but what do I know?
- The Ghorbles were the product of my genetic experiments on the ancient Mylar race. They were a species of flying blood-sucking creatures I made by warping the genes of some of the little people I’d captured on my travels. Tiny reptilian-like flying dogs, they had scales all over their bodies and tiny spikes down their backs, along with an amazingly effective pair of leathery wings that somehow allowed them to fly. See Genesis Revisited Chapter 2c Behold Man…and more?
- Actually, that’s not true – had I not interfered The Ghast could very well have saved Hacktor and defeated Garrick’s entire army. But as I did not need Hacktor any longer, it was time for him for this charade to end.
- The Blackwoods were destroyed down to their roots – meaning the basis for Hacktor’s war was for naught. Never again would their benefit be enjoyed by the Drokka. In fact, it would take these woods centuries to regrow and when they finally did, they emerged as the Redwoods of your modern day — their color a remembrance of all the blood that was spilled that day.
- Hmm. I wonder who supplied Garrick with that armor?
- Ok, I’ll admit it, I was touched by Hacktor’s faith in me. That kind of belief in the gods is rare. As a result, although I wasn’t planning to, I blessed Hacktor with a bit more stregth and a double helping of luck, and I also removed the magic that was protecting Garrick. Since I didn’t need the Derkka king either, it was no loss to me if he fell too.