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This is the start to my contest entry. I hope that you all will enjoy it and I encourage feedback! If you do decide to leave feedback please tell me what you'd like to see added to the story or taken out or anything else you can think of -- every little bit of feedback helps. Thanks again!
"A Likely Story"
The last thing that went through the demon’s mind was Gabriel’s axe. The demon, whose name could not be pronounced by a human, was something more akin to being a scout than anything else. It was not a warrior. But for some reason that morning it felt like taking a swing at a human, “why not,” it said to no one in particular, “I can have some fun too.“
If Gabriel, a rather forgettable young man of twenty-six with no discernable streak of courage in him, had known the demon was there, he would have wholly embraced flight over fight. However, he could no more outrun this demon that ran on all fours like a jackal than could he grow the necessary vocal chords to pronounce the demon’s name.
The demon, whose name if you’re curious sounds something like Dumath, was in a particular mood to do some harm to a human, even if it was only a lame looking lumberjack. In Gabriel’s defense he is strong, in good health, and of sunny disposition more times than not. A surprisingly full beard extended a few inches below a strong chin the same color as his hair and eyes – brown. Though he was not tall, about five foot ten inches, he had girth weighing in at two hundred and forty pounds.
Dumath was not what you would call a powerful demon. It had four legs and rather sizable claws on each of three fingers. Unfortunately those claws were about as sharp as a tree trunk and any teeth it may have had in its mouth were rotted beyond all hardness. If it hadn’t been an instrument of Diablo and his reign of terror, you might actually feel sorry for what looked like a sickly dog.
So here we are on the field of battle between a man that would rather pee in his pants than fight a demon and a demon that would have a hard time taking down a two legged rabbit. Dumath stared from the tree line and calculated his attack. It saw scenarios of chaos and mayhem culminating in his great victory.
Gabriel meandered from the tree line carrying a light load of lumber and his rather sizable axe. Dumath roared with all of its might and succeeded in scaring a few birds out of the tree beside him, a small dropping from one of the birds landed on its back, but it did not notice. Its black blood coursed through veins that would power the demon through the woods, over the small river, and directly into Gabriel’s path.
Dumath bared his teeth and stuck out his lolling tongue as fiercely as it could, trying to make himself look hungry for blood. It didn’t like the sensation of a dry tongue and thought it detracted from its fierceness and kept pulling it back into its mouth.
Gabriel dropped the wood onto the ground, picked up his axe and stuck it into one of the stumps near his camp. A strange bird-like cry caught his attention and he looked up to see what he imagined was a deranged dog hauling all sorts of holy butt down the hill side. He squinted and saw the poor dog trip trying to cross a stream, fall, collide head first into the bank, get back up, shake, and begin to run again.
It had not occurred to Gabriel that the sprint he was watching was anything offensive. In fact, the thing’s tongue was lolling and it looked very much like a dog that was returning to its long lost master. Gabriel watched with rapt attention to this lost dog in search of its home.
Dumath’s mouth still hurt from the face plant it gave to the side of the creek bank. “Stupid,” it said to itself, “should have jumped higher.” It limped a bit now, but was still remarkably fast. Its momentum was straight at Gabriel now, it was time for blood! The demon poured on more speed, everything that it could gather and opened its mouth, tongue looking to lick up the blood of pray.
The gap between the two was now no more than twenty yards. Gabriel continued to watch the animal’s sprint, very aware that if it met Gabriel at that speed, it would knock him over. Gabriel adjusted, smiled, and bent to welcome the poor thing with open arms and some scraps of jerky he’d just made.
“KILL!!!” Dumath screamed and it flung itself with all thirty five pounds of killing muscle it had and cleared the crouching Gabriel by at least a foot. The force of which the poor demon struck the blade of Gabriel’s axe in the trunk was almost enough to extract the blade from stump. Gabriel was going to need a towel.
There was a small jade figure on a leather collar around the dog’s neck. Gabriel took it and sighed. He was going to have to tell someone in town that their dog had an accident or something. He was also going to need to get his axe sharpened. That dog had some tough bone.
Later in the town of (still need a setting near New Tristram) Gabriel came upon a man that looked as though he’d just thrown up. “Good day, sir.” Gabriel started, but the man merely shuddered and jabbered something about a goatman and pushed past. New Tristram had made a good rally to reestablish, but every now and then a hero would want to come back and relive their expeditions that had usually ended poorly the first time through. These visitors didn’t make anyone feel better.
Many had already been into the monastery and taken anything of value from the first few floors. There were rumors that the depths of the catacombs went all the way to the burning hells. Several strangers that had come to find some of the few remaining valuables a couple levels down said that they heard strange noises and ventured no further.
It was no secret that Gabriel didn’t put much stock into the rumors that Diablo was back, or that he’d even been there a second time. It was ludicrous to him that someone would be stupid enough to stick themselves in the head with a demonic soul stone – especially after hearing about what happened to the last maniac that used his forehead as a candle holder.
Secretly Gabriel believed that a disease had been the downfall of the town. He did not tell anyone this though; there were plenty of crazies around the town that had much more eccentric stories that accounted for the death of Tristram.
One old codger had actually told Gabriel in a drunken fog that cows had rose up and slaughtered everyone – swords and everything. Before the old man could properly smack Gabriel across the head Gabriel fell out of his chair in a raucous fit of laughter that caught the attention of everyone in the tavern.
There were good times to be had in (town that I haven’t decided on yet.) Not many came through these days but the growth of the town was steady enough to keep Gabriel, the only lumberjack, in business. Gabriel knew of a few carpenters that would fight over the planks he brought back on a daily basis. Heethon was usually the one that could pay the most because of the remodeling he’d done for a prince in Lut Golein. Heethon said that he got a lot of money for the metal work and repairs that were needed in his basement.
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