Hackmaster (Hardcore Edition)

The Hunger

From the Flashback of Jonathan Pike

“Get in there Pike!” roared Barrackus. The half-ogre was injured and needed a reprieve from the heavily armored kobold monstrosity that was savaging him. “It must be the chief,” Pike shouted, halberd at the ready. As Barrackus stepped back, Pike surged to the front of the party to cover the half-ogre’s withdrawal. He was in the forefront now, he was all that stood between the party and utter destruction, and that’s when the axe caught him in the shoulder. The blade produced a deep gash in his armor and flesh that caused him to crumple to the floor of the dungeon. The pain was tremendous, and the world went black.

The hideous beasts were scrambling over the failing defense works and fallen bodies of the legion. Pike lay on the ground, the handle of a wicked knife protruding from chest. His standard issue legion leather armor had failed him, the knife passed through as if the armor had not been there at all. To his left and right his comrades were fighting and dying. Pike began to close his eyes and started to feel at peace when he heard wretched screaming from behind him. With great effort he hoisted himself on his elbow to get a look at what was making such a terrible, gawdforsaken noise. To his horror, he found several of the plains orcs devouring his sergeant alive. “Sturm, NO!” Pike yelled, and with herculean effort lifted himself to his feet and staggered toward the savage orcs. When he finally reached the scene of the atrocity, Pike was consumed with rage, and with no other weapons available, he removed the knife from his chest and fell upon the beasts like a butcher carving into a swine.

When it was all over there lay three mutilated corpses under Pike, two orcs and one human. The battle healer came by to dress the wounds of the survivors. “You got lucky Pike,” said the healer “If that knife were any closer to your heart, you would have ended up like Sturm here.” As Pike sat in his muddy trench waiting for the healer to finish sewing his wounds, he got a glimpse of himself in a puddle of murky water pooling on the ground. He noticed a change in his own appearance. Despite the vicious wounds on his chest and around his face, the real change was in his eyes. The change is what veterans like to call “the hunger.” It’s the look in a man’s eyes when rage consumes him and he becomes a vessel of payment and violent retribution to his enemies. Pike knew exactly what it meant now, and exactly who was going to pay.

Pike felt himself being dragged across a stone floor, he grabbed the gauntleted hand that was tugging on him and the movement stopped. “I think I’m ok now,” Pike said uneasily, slowly gaining his senses. Looking up, Pike saw the armored figure of Tûrin Mitheim, the Grey Elf who was now leading the Blood Hawks. “What in the abyss happened back there Tûrin?” Pike asked. Tûrin removed his leather cap and nonchalantly answered, “You got cut down by the kobold chief. Lucky thing Pussy Willow made some of those wussy sleep darts earlier today or I would have had to start trying against that bastard.” Firefern, a Pixie Sprite, flew over to Tûrin’s head, in a state of great agitation. “First, my name is Firefern. Second, those so called wussy sleep darts repelled the great squirrel overlord, Chitter Chat, from the very gates of Fernwickle Isle during the great squirrel rebellion. Many lives were lost before that formula was perfected.” Firefern insisted, straining so his voice could be heard. Tûrin shot Firefern an icy glare, and calmly replied, “What have I told you about speaking to your betters, Pussy Willow? I might be Grey elf, but I think somewhere in my bloodline there’s some Grel, and it’s giving me a mean hunger for Pixie meat.” Firefern fluttered away screaming in terror, as Tûrin laughed with self satisfaction.

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