Hello again. Th’batmouse here again! And I’ve got the second story in the series! Okay so I’ve posted these already under the uncatagorized heading and I’m trying to place them under a new heading more in line with these stories as I’ve stories in other genres to post as well.
Enough with the talkin’, an’ let’s et on with the story!
Title: PLATEAU PREDATOR
Pairing: R/M (No, not her! Lord John Roxton/ Edward Malone! )
Summary: After his encounter with an alien-creature, Malone, wandering around, found that he’s not alone. And, that whatever’s following him knows how he feels about a certain left behind British Lord.
Archive: Yeah, yeah, sure, g’head an’ list ’em! I puppy-dog dare ya! I’m not scared! List ‘em wherever it’s okay to archive, here, there, anywhere, somewhere. Just let me know, ‘k?
Series: Ned, the barbarian. Not a for really series.
Notes: did you see Marcia’s bruised nose? Pass this on. Don’t let the teacher see.
Web Page URL: Huh? Whazzat? The new way earl spell’s his name? Y’know, url?
Disclaimer: yeah right. Like I really own the rights to this great stuff!
Warnings: Look out! Duck! Run! Hide! Violence! Don’t like? Don’t look! Go away. See? Self-censorship works!
From the watcher’s vantage point high in the trees, he kept and eye on the small creature with the tuft of straw hair colored crowning it’s head as it cautiously moved through the forest. The small biped moved stealthily, quietly and with purpose. But, it didn’t look or move like a hunter or a warrior. In fact it looked like it should be the hunted, the prey. Even then, it had the look of a quick kill. Hardly worth the hunt, but he’d seen the small biped in action. It was a survivor, that was for sure . . . yet, it . . . he (?) . . . seemed male. Oddly enough, it spoke to his prey (?) . . . his adversaries (?) . . . as if they could understand his primitive gruntings. Well, he was sure that it was speaking a language and not just the random growling and gruntings of a pre-civilized beast.
As for himself, he’d arrived on the plateau to hunt his own prey. He’d set the pod along what looked like a well used animal trail and concealed himself to wait for a local creature to happen by and become implanted. He needed only follow along until the embryo blossomed whole from the unfortunate creature, then the hunt could begin . . .
But, the beast that had been implanted had been one that had been previously wounded. The wound looked like it had been made by a hand made weapon. Something, or more accurately someone was already hunting the beast.
By all rights, the hunt was his . . . but according the code he and his kin lived by, he couldn’t interfere with another’s hunt. Just as none could interfere with one of his hunts. Then, he saw what was hunting the large beast. He figured that the small biped would quickly be slain after the prey blossomed and quickly grew to its full size, then he could take over the hunt as it should’ve been . . .
There was no way any could’ve anticipated the outcome of the battle between the small biped and the prey . . .
The pale biped wore the thinnest of materials that in no way could be thought of as armor. It looked woven, like some of the garments of a few of the more civilized races he’d encountered. And its weapon, though it had the look of having been made from some form of forged metal, but didn’t look like it could be much use in a battle. It looked like a club, but with these primitive cultures, it was hard to tell. The small biped appeared to be a planetary native, but one ill-suited for survival in such a hostile environment as that which it was wandering through. It quite possibly had come from another area of the planet.
And as he thought, it was ill-prepared for the prey’s blossoming, but with remarkable ingenuity, the biped not only survived the prey, but killed it as well!
Only to collapse in exhaustion on the cliff side, where it had tricked the prey into leaping to its death. Exhausted, the biped had slipped in unconsciousness and had obviously dreamt.
As with all dreamers, its heart’s desire was laid bare. And rare for dreamers, it spoke of something called a My-Lord-Roxton. Quite possibly a lover or mate. Then, of another entity it damned and named bitch-marguerite. This My-Lord-Roxton had to have held great honor and was in a high place in the small biped’s . . . esteem.
Curious about the small biped, instead of returning to the pick-up point, he simply reported in that the prey was dead and the hunt over, but he’d found something . . . interesting and would be along shortly.
He followed the small biped to a small pond, which had strange energy emanating from its waters, though the small biped ignored it. It removed the shreds of its . . . garments and swam naked in the waters, cleansing its wounds and self. Soon, it donned other garments from a hidden cache then moved on.
Obviously the energy pond was some sort of home-base for the biped.
As they traveled, together, but not, he heard the little biped’s other dreams. His translators had to work over time. He was learning why the small biped was alone. Why it rarely sought out members of its own species. He knew how he would feel if he were separated from his . . . the loneliness. The aloneness one felt at the loss of such a major part of one’s soul . . .
He also wondered if the natives of this planet had some sort of low-level natural sensory ability. Every now and then, the small biped would pause to look around as if it knew it was being watched. A couple times it looked right at him, but didn’t react. That told him that the native species here couldn’t see beyond a certain spectrum of light.
The little biped was on the move again.
He followed the biped to a village and watched the fearful reception it received. The villagers didn’t take kindly to arrival . . . or return. Through a series of limb gestures, the biped let the others know what he wanted. Still, the small biped merely gathered what possessions it had left in the village and departed, heading back to the pond, to continue alone.
The villagers had treated the biped fearfully, yet respectfully, as if he would change into a beast and slay them all. It . . . he didn’t seek out others after that. In fact, it avoided other bipeds. Hiding quietly if others wandered by and stayed hidden until they were gone.
And, the biped . . . he, for by now the watcher believed the small biped was male, would hunt alone . . . which led to its current predicament.
A pack of native carnivores were hunting him. A large pack of reptilian hunters.
With only his wits and the small weapon, he had slain three of the . . . raptors (was that what he’d called them? ), but there were still four others. And, these seemed to be more intelligent than the first three. These proved craftier, more devious. They’d quickly learned that his black stick cast high velocity pellets that could kill them. They avoided areas where he could get a good shot at them. Their attacks became ambushes. Quick strikes then flee.
They were gradually wearing down the small biped.
He knew that once the biped was sufficiently tired, the raptors would attack in force and kill him.
The biped ducked and dodged. He ran and hid. A quick turn here, another there and he escaped death. He killed one more raptor.
The watcher really didn’t want to see the small biped that called itself Neddy-boy (if his translators were working correctly and he was sure that they were) hurt or slain. Much less, become ripped part as these lower beings’ meal. But, these raptors were nearly ready for the kill. Unless he did something . . . but there was the code of honor to be thought of, surely, he couldn’t lightly put that aside. He’d lived by the code his whole life . . . but, then, the Neddy-boy-biped wasn’t one of his people was he?
He liked the Neddy-boy.
The Neddy-boy was small, but tricky. He knew how to survive. Small, nearly weaponless, alone, he did himself proud.
He paused in his admiration of the Neddy-boy, when he saw that two of the raptors had figured out how to box the biped in. But, where was the third? The Neddy-boy was about to be killed!
Not if he could help it!
Without thought, he swung out of the tree, landing before one of the raptors. He dropped his camouflage shield and his wrist claws sprang from their metallic sheathes as the raptor charged.
“HOLY . . . !” Malone stumbled and fell back when a huge savage hulk appeared out of nowhere to ward off one of the raptors.
As a raptor attacked, a massive arm moved and the raptor shrieked as the tri-pronged claws ripped it open. The force of the blow lifted the dinosaur up and sent the reptile flying as blood and guts splashed about.
It wasn’t attacking him! It was protecting him!
“Be-ware . . . Neddy-boy . . . the o-ther . . . at-tacks !” The massively tall . . . being growled at him and pointed passed Malone.
Shocked out of his shock (The giant knows my name! And . . . and I’ll be damned, it sounded like him, too! ), Malone flipped over on his stomach, barely aimed and fired! The attacking raptor’s head snapped backward and erupted in a fine spray of red as it fell.
There was another horrible shriek and the giant’s cry of surprise as the third raptor sprang out of the undergrowth and landed on him.
Its teeth and claws tearing and biting as the pair went down.
Taken by surprise, the giant fought with equal savagery.
The giant rolled and landed on top of the raptor, but was flung back even as he struck.
The raptor’s foot-claws tearing him open even as his own wrist daggers savagely slashed the beast.
The giant hit the ground hard and skidded to a stop.
The raptor sluggishly rolled to its feet and with a cry of hate and rage, charged the wounded giant, intent on murdering the creature that had decimated her pack. Dazed and injured, the giant gamely tried to rise, but even Ned could see that it was doomed.
A report of a rifle and blood exploded out of the raptor’s head.
The raptor flipped as if it had been clothes-lined. It fell twitching to the ground.
He tried to sit up and look at the Neddy-boy biped. Everything was a bit blurry . . . The Neddy-boy said something, but he couldn’t understand the small biped’s words . . .
Blackness swallowed his vision . . .
Malone sat across the fire from the big ugly giant. Its skin was . . . yellowish and spotted. It had taken off its gunmetal colored helmet, scaring Malone in the process. The giant was Uuuuuuggh-Lee ! Its eyes were yellow and it had a buggy-mouth. For hair, it had what looked like long rubber hoses with attachments holding the lengths together. Its wrist guards looked like some kind of devices and its big body was covered with a fishnet type of garment. It wore big boots and a loin cloth that looked raggedy. Its belt was also dark and massive. And it had claws of its own.
All-in-all, the giant looked very dangerous.
Still, Malone was sure that he was safe.
The giant called itself a hunter of sorts. And, apparently, Malone had killed what it had come to hunt.
While he watched, the giant started blue flames in a strange little pot-like plate that was made of metal petals. The giant dropped some stuff, a powder of some kind, into the heat, where it melted. And as he watched, the giant smeared the steaming goo into the raptor wounds. Malone could tell that it really hurt, as the giant screamed in pain as the goo was applied. Making Malone wince. Once the hot goo was put into all of his wounds, the fire/heat died and the giant collapsed back against the tree. Exhausted.
Malone wanted to help the giant, but didn’t know how.
“Let me guess . . .” Malone spoke finally, his rifle lying across his thighs, “You’ve been following me around . . . since my run in with that bone- dinosaur?”
“Yesss . . .”
“I knew it!” Malone clapped a hand on his thigh, “I was being followed!”
“Nedddy-boy . . .” Its big weirdling voice answered.
“Don’t call me that.” Malone hung his head, pain evident in his voice.
“Iss th-at . . . not . . . nay-mmm . . . ?” The weirdling voice again.
“No. I’m Ned . . .” Malone didn’t look up, “. . . that’s what he called me . . . before . . . before . . .”
“. . . My L . . . Ord . . . Rox . . . ton . . . ?”
“How’d you . . .” Malone’s head snapped up. Then said, “It . . . it’s just Roxton.”
“Rox . . . ton . . .” Trying the single word out.
“Yes.” Malone nodded and then asked again, “How’d you know . . . ?”
“You sp-eak . . . in sl-leep. .“ Did Malone read sorrow in the giant’s eyes? The giant patted his chest, just below where the heart should be, “Do you hu-rt . . . here . . . ?”
“. . . yes . . .”
“I un-der sta-and the pain.” The giant nodded, “I too ha-ave mate-lov-ver. Un-der-sta-and sep-par-ray-shun pain.”
“I . . . thank you.” Malone said, not really knowing what else to say.
“You do him p urr –roud.” The giant rumbled. Malone felt proud at what the giant said.
Dammit, why’d he have to . . . Malone’s senses went on alert again. He stood up, battle ready, even with out his rifle. Something was out there! Somehow, he knew that they weren’t alone, anymore. It felt like before, like he was being watched. He wondered what . . .
There was a snap of a twig and Malone looked up again . . .
“FUCK!” He nearly screamed as he fell backwards off the stone he was sitting on, when five more, larger giants materialized, walking out of the forest like massive green monstrous phantoms . . .
“Dakt. ” The older looking giant spoke. The giant looked up at the lead giant, who held a savage looking spear.
“Tatk. ” The giant sat up then slowly stood to his full height. He bowed his head only for a moment.
“Cee-dagh, wh-ak.. ” The elder pointed at Malone.
“G’Idaw. Kauh.” The giant spoke with a glance at Malone. He extended his hand to the small biped. With a little hesitance, Malone reached out and took the giant’s massive hand, noting how small his own was in comparison. He felt like a small child, the way he was easily lifted to his feet, “K’I Idaw Khhaw. ”
“Eech-cha–aw nh-ww. “ The elder merely grunted before he turned and left, leading the others away.
After a moment, the giant placed a hand on Malone’s cheek, gently holding him there, before his big paw slid away. He gave Malone a small quick nod as if to tell him that he’d done a good job, then the giant drew himself up to his full height with pride. He pulled a small dagger from his belt and gave it to Malone, who marveled at the workmanship and how big the blade was in his hand.
“E’Gaw.” The giant turned and followed the others. Accepted the hand of an equally savage warrior and began walking off. At the end of the clearing, they paused to look back at Malone for moment, then the giant spat on the ground with unveiled hate. “Bi-tch maug-ga-reet !”
Okay. For an ugly giant, maybe he wasn’t so bad. Malone picked up his rifle, tucked the long dagger in his belt and walked away, wondering what the hell was that giant and where did it come from. Obviously, there was a whole tribe of them. And how’d they just vanish like that, into the surrounding . . .
Malone stopped, as if stunned by a sudden thought. That giant had taken the hand of another male-warrior-giant when they were leaving! It knew that Roxton was a man . . . another male . . . and that he and Roxton had been . . .
Malone smiled before turned and headed off.
Maybe those ugly giants weren’t so different after all!
At the edge of the clearing, Malone lifted his arm and sniffed.
“Ew!” he smelled himself, “I need a bath! I smell like some damn dirty ape!”
End . . . ?