Read Lore of the Underlings: Episode 6 ~ Meeting Minyon Online

Authors: John Klobucher

Tags: #adventure, #poetry, #new author, #fantasy, #science fiction, #epic, #novel, #series, #poetic, #apocalyptic, #lyrical, #quest, #comedic, #heroic, #episodic

Lore of the Underlings: Episode 6 ~ Meeting Minyon

BOOK: Lore of the Underlings: Episode 6 ~ Meeting Minyon
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Lore of the Underlings: Episode 6 ~ Meeting
Minyon

Tales of tongues unknown

Translated by John Klobucher

(he wrote it too, but don’t tell anyone and spoil the
fun)

 

Copyright 2014 John Klobucher

Smashwords Edition

 

Visit John Klobucher’s
author
page
at Smashwords.com

 

~ ~ ~

 

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

Thank you for downloading this free ebook. Although
this is a free book, it remains the copyrighted property of the
author, and may not be reproduced, copied and distributed for
commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book,
please encourage your friends to download their own copy at
Smashwords.com, where they can also discover other works by this
author. Thank you for your support.

 

~ ~ ~

 

Cover art by John Klobucher

 

 

 

Table of Contents

Episode 6 ~ Meeting Minyon

About the Author

 

 

 

Episode 6 ~ Meeting
Minyon

A sweet smoke of billit meat flavored the air
from fire pits where a flock of folk, women all or their young
girls, were roasting the fresh-killed fowl to a turn. “Good morning
indeed!” it seemed to say. Spit after spit of it sputtered and spat
as fat dripped from thin crispy skin turned black gold to hiss and
flare up in the flames. Hen upon hen spun nearly in unison, slowly
approaching a juicy perfection.

“Mmm,” hummed Boxbo rubbing his belly and
fixing his eyes on some plump breasts and drumsticks.

“Those are not for you!” clucked Ixit. “Don’t
be a bird-brain. We’ll land in the Pen.”

“How ‘bout just a peck or two? And you can
grab a wing, a thigh. We’ll be in and out before they know it.”

“Or soon be the Guard’s dead meat, you
plucker, sent home in a box o’ bones — if we’re lucky!”

And yet, despite their fragrant allure, it
took but a zephyr to clear the air and reveal a less-appealing
tale… the full, unappetizing story. You see, these supreme and
saucy chick-hens were only temporary temptations, the lip-smacking
treats of a fast-food feast made to order by rows of doe-eyed maids
who steamed and smoked and slaved away, all in a hot and makeshift
kitchen no stick of which stood an hour before. This was cuisine
conjured up on demand, a mess by command of the other Hurx man, the
red-bearded brother of Ayryx the Mourned, no more than a spit from
the door of his war tent. And everyone knew the menu here… to fill
or be killed from the hunger within it… growing by the minute.

But then again, in the end, it was nothing
that a little game couldn’t change.

By now no drop of the morning dew remained to
grace this open space and the soft green floor of Syland spurge
that carpeted a good part of it — at least where the gently sloping
land met the foot of the sylvan hillside. Yet that deep mat
cushioned the hide-wrapped feet of the nimble humble women folk.
And the thick of it still kept the toes nice and cool while the
damp soil below squished like rich blackblood pudding… laced with a
taste of fat gummy flesh-flukes just to add that special spring. Or
dense gooey tar cake that sticks to the bones and sinks to the pit
of the stomach.

But there was another side to this clearing,
one less lush and comforting. For nearer the great tent the flat
turf went dry, parched and patchy, worn down to bare brown from the
heavier traffic of four-wheeling carts and scores of marching men
folk. And being baked hard by the thirsty sun, its moist crumby
topsoil was turned to dust. That plus the pounding the old sod took
from team after team of iron-shod chevox gave rise to a virtual fog
of war there. They kicked up clouds and plumes in the air, casting
dust storms everywhere.

From the hilltop settlement barreled a
bull-cart, riding down roughshod and reckless as heck. Afar at
first but nearing fast, it straddled wide the tired road on a
rumbling, rattling path headed earthbound with every sign of an
urgent mission. Or just as well a bat out of hell, it all but
careened off course more than once descending the slope at
breakneck speed. Indeed so frantic was its run that everyone
watched it land aground with a bump and a bounce in the valley
below. Then and only then was it possible for a peeled eyeball or
naked pupil to catch what you’d call a half-decent look and size
the whole thing up.

This double-high, double-deep, double-long
wagon had seen its better days. A heavy five-wheeler of rotted
pynewood built long ago by hands now still, it was pulled by a
brace of young bull chevox with muscular legs and sleek coats of
black. A feisty and impatient pair, their power seemed almost too
much for the cart, which creaked as if ready to break apart.

“Crack! Groan… Crack!” whined its weak back
axle.

And due to some massive cargo inside,
something grunting and alive, it cut deeper the ruts in which it
drove.

“Wooo! Pig! Sooie!” cried the driver.

The burly man turned his brawny team hard
with a good, quick jerk on their worn leather leads, steering them
sharply off to the left and a cart lot midway to the tent. Still
they did not slow their stampede. Not these beefy beasts. Not a
bit. Not yet…

A small boy egged them on, a-cheer. “Go cart
go! The swiner’s here!” The ragamuffin jumped for joy and threw his
arms up in the air.

Then against the battle tent’s billowing
backdrop of canvas colored in browns and greens, this chase scene,
the saga of raging bulls in a field of screams, played out at last.
Not a moment too soon the reinsman called “Whoa now!” and pulled
back strong to park the twain. But his two-pack did not even react.
The bullocks kept going — the yoke on him. And the spoked spinning
wheels of the big bucking chuck wagon stirred up a cyclone of true
grit that sent a dozen denizens flying or diving for their lives.
“Think quick!” Thank goodness none were hit.

“Masher! Basher! I mean it! Whoa or you’ll be
dog meat!”

Suddenly the bulls held up and their joyride
came to a violent stop.

“Umph!”

“Grunt…”

Thump!

Just a porklet’s whisker short of a crash
with a score or more of other road craft.

“Well done bully boys!” laughed loudly the
man climbing down from his rickety rig. “Now let’s give the ladies
their due of this bedeviled pig.”

Then in a manner that seemed routine the
filthy but friendly-looking driver tugged on a long and hairy vine
hanging there by the speedwagon’s tailgate. That action tipped the
whole contraption releasing a pitted and pockmarked ramp — a steely
sort of hand-plated grate likely made of cold-rolled ironwood —
that opened up down to the waiting ground with a cranky scraping
sound.

But that noise was very soon drowned out by
an even louder din, the buzz of a sudden swarm of children, urchins
who flew in from nowhere it seemed to meet the welcome wagon.
Trailing them almost majestically with the warmth and cool of their
would-be queen, there came a handsome and matronly woman.

“Good Mr. Swillyum!” she called to the man, a
caring sincerity in her tone. “Sweet Meeting Day dear swiner.”

Two of the wee tots leapt into her arms
without the slightest notice.

“Have you brought us something plump? Fresh
meat for our firepits this morn?”

The soily fellow wheeled around and beamed
back at the woman. “Mother Huggum, halloo! Tip-top o’ the dew-time
ta you!”

Something big banged on the sideboards of the
now inert transport, in the deep black hold of it.

“Yes indeed, by my beard I have! The best of
the beasts I’ve ever reared.” He unlet a latch on the wide, weighty
tailgate and let it go — GONG! — with a warning… “Watch yerselves
kiddlings. Stand off. Look out!”

But before the small fry could react a pair
of flaring eyes peered back from the trunk of the rank delivery
truck. They came with a growling, fang-toothed mouth on the
underside of a muzzled snout that dripped a venomous mess from
nostrils too red and boogered to be missed… a pug-nosed,
puss-kissed face like a fist… dog-eared with frog warts festooning
its skin and drooling from the chinny chin chin a slime aswim of
slugs within, not to mention a horny coat acrawl in all of the
foulest, boar-borne vermin — dung bugs that is, big and vile as
they come. This pig-styled head bore every dark hallmark. It had to
be the ugly mug of an angry albeit well-fatted snarl hog.

The thing made a chilling, bloodcurdling
squeal and charged down the ramp at the near frozen children, a
baker’s dozen or so in close range. A razor-backed, toe-nailed,
spike-haired monster with no care for their tender age.

Yet the targeted tots did not run and hide.
Instead they sang a lullaby. It was something short and sweet:

 

Pretty pig, hello hello

Let’s go wallow, follow follow

By the sleeping willow tree

Where the mud is shallow shallow

 

Past the fallow field of dreams

Handsome hoggy use your nose

Diggy piggy come let’s go

To the sleepy hollow hollow

To the sleepy hollow

 

The creature keeled over as if roped and
hog-tied, making a long, deep gash in the ground. It had turned
petrified, crashed fast asleep, been felled spellbound before it
went down. It was sawing wood when its skid stopped dead.

A cloud of gnats lit on the once-lumbering
beast, slumbering peaceful now as a log. Comfortably numb. In hog
heaven. A-fog.

“I see that you’ve already learned yer
young’uns,” said Mr. Swillyum to the woman.

“Never too early!” replied mother Huggum, a
gleam of gold in her amber eyes as she surveyed her humming hive.
They circled the downed hog still sound a-snooze and bid it adieu
with a last verse of music, a chorus bloodthirsty but cherubic:

 

Simmer down hambone

Rest in peas, honey

Be pleased to meat you

To marrow to marrow

Can’t wait to eat you

Tomorrow!

 

Those last notes fell like soil-stained
snowflakes — earthly songfall from an angelic cast.

The swiner unleashed a belly laugh and
clapped his hands in appreciation. “Now which ones are yer fair
daughters again? I think I see two or three o’ them…”

“I am proud, kind breeder, to say I have
seven,” cooed the yet youthful and apron-clad woman.

“A pride in every sense!” he pronounced. “I
should like ta make their acquaintance.”

The comb-crowned mother hen gathered her
brood in a row by the old wheeled pigpen. “Come now children, pay
your respects. The swiner’s a treasured family friend…”

She spread her arms in their direction, palms
up, face aglow. “Here you go — these six plus this one are the cubs
of my den, lassies all of the Huggum clan.”

“Ooo,” swooned Mr. Swillyum crooning
Flower of This Thorny Land
and adding, with a little wink,
“lovely as their mum, I think.”

She blushed but her blossoms did not miss a
bleat. Instead the bunch launched into a folk dance with ten
curtsies at the end, all cheerily greeting the gentle meatman. And
done they sang in unison, “An honor dear mister herder sir!”

Then each took a turn meting out
introductions:

 

“I’m Hexxi.”

“I’m Vexxi.”

 

“She’s Trixxi.”

“That’s Wixxi.”

 

“We’re Noxxi and Poxxi.”

 

“They call me Mawg.”

 

The last seemed more boy by her half-dozen
sisters, beauties all of honey-pure skin and long, flowing manes
like lionesses. No, she was on the bearish side — big-boned and
husky, rather ham-handed, with hair shorn short and sort of
laddish. And that’s not to mention the slow, musky voice she hid
behind those meaty mitts. It first came across a little shyly; on
second thought, though, you’d have to say guy-ly.

Yet the swiner made no notice. “The honor is
mine, my dandelions! What cute kitty cattails ya are.” He bowed a
low and hatless bow that showed the tanned pate of his sun-kissed
head. “Please call me Uncle Gustus!”

Agiggle, the girls bowed back at him then
pounced upon the hampered pig. Each knew the job she had to do, so
like good soldiers they set straight to it.

From a pile stacked with poles that appeared
out of nowhere, Mawg plus the six picked up long toiling sticks and
used them to roll the enormous hog, the weight of a hundred
sleeping dogs, onto an old-fashioned slaughtering sleigh handy-made
from the strongest of limberwood fabrics. A magically woven twill,
if you will. And then by that sling they dragged the thing — in
league with a team of other tweens and an army of even weer ones —
away from Swiner Swillyum’s ramp toward a spot near the heart of
the Treasuror’s camp where a fresh-dug and deep pork-u-pit now
awaited, already stoked and thick with smoke.

BOOK: Lore of the Underlings: Episode 6 ~ Meeting Minyon
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