The Epic of Willdog: Part One
Deep in the lands where no man walks, a legend is passed down from generation to generation. The legend known as: The Epic of Willdog.
The Epic is the tale of the mighty warrior-deity known as Willdog, who watches over the lands of those who worship him, and conquers and pillages the lands of those who defy him. No one knows where Willdog came from; there are some who say he has no beginning, no end, and simply has been and always shall be.
However at the end of the last century the unthinkable happened. Willdog vanished from the land, leaving only a handful of devote followers behind. His worshipers believed he would come back to them, but as the years passed, no sign of the god appeared. In his absence the Evil Lord Elias was able to roam freely across the lands, taking cities, burning crops, slaughtering those who surrendered, and separating weeping babes from their mothers. Finally, only one stronghold of Willdog remained. The city of Willton refused to surrender to the Evil Lord, and was put under siege. Even when all hope seemed lost, there were still some who believed that their god would return, and that Willdog would once again rise to rule the land...
Chapter 1: The Siege of Willton
John Smith dashed towards the gates of Willton, his empty scabbard slapping his waist with every stride. In front of him, the gate buckled inwards under the force of the assault it was suffering from the Evil Lord Elias's battering ram. John came sliding to a halt twenty paces from the gate, reading his sword in front of him. The soldiers that had followed in his wake formed up behind him. Every man there knew that the fate of the city rested on their shoulders. If they didn't make a stand here and now, the battle was as good as lost.
The gate buckled inward again. This time it warped slightly, belying the fact that it would soon give way. Savoring what might be his last moments on the mortal plane, John knelt and said a quick prayer to Willdog. Just as he finished, a mighty crash came from the gate in front of him. He scrambled to his feet just in time to see the gates exploding inwards, raining shrapnel on the ground in front of him and his comrades.
The soldiers behind him drew their swords, and John resumed his ready stance. As the dust from the explosion cleared, the Evil Lord's soldiers came swarming into the city. They raised swords and torches above their heads as they wildly shouted battle cries.
"For Willdog!" John shouted in response, and immediately charged the enemy soldiers, his men close behind.
John fought harder than he ever had in his life. It was one thing to face soldiers in the practice ring, or to skirmish with bandits, but it was something else entirely to fight to protect your home. He knew his soldiers were equally resolute, as they gained an early advantage on the attackers. However, in the end, the numbers were too greatly in Elias's favor, and John heard his men beginning to fall one-by-one around him until he was the only defender left.
John swung his sword mercilessly, determined to take as many of the enemy soldiers to the afterlife with him as he could manage. He managed to slay three men before one of the soldiers struck a blow to his leg, bringing him to his knees. Even then John refused to give up, wildly slashing his sword to keep the attackers at bay. He struck another man down before his sword was ripped out of his grip, leaving him weaponless and kneeling in the middle of Elias's men. In one last desperate attempt to protect his home, John called out to Willdog. Even as the swords of his enemies sank into his flesh, John shouted out his plea to the heavens for Willdog to defend his final stronghold and return to rule the land once more.
With his strength depleted, and his will to fight seeping away along with his lifeblood, John Smith died...
There was a brief moment of darkness, where all of John's pain seemed to fade away, and then he felt as though he were floating upward, high above the battle that had taken place below. John opened his eyes, and found himself blinded by a light purer and brighter than anything he had ever seen. As the light dissipated, John found himself standing in the presence of Lord Willdog himself. John had never seen a rendition of his lord that looked like the god that stood before him, but he knew without question that this being was Willdog.
John immediately dropped to his knees and bowed his head. He dared not look Willdog in the eye, both for fear of the disappointment he might find, and the fact that he did not consider himself worthy to look upon such a being of power.
When Willdog spoke, it was with a voice that seemed to embody power. It echoed around the bright void surrounding them, seeming to come from everywhere at once. "Tis not yet thy time to go, my child," Willdog stated.
"My lord, I gladly give my life in your name!" John responded, fighting to keep his voice from breaking in the presence of a god. There was a pause before John heard Willdog's response.
"Look into my eyes."
John remained kneeling, but slowly raised his head, bringing his eyes in line with those of his lord. The eyes John saw were beautiful and terrible all at once. They seemed to flash between a black so dark that John felt the whole world could be consumed in it, and a light so bright that it would illuminate the darkest night. Tears began to leak from the corner of John's eyes as he stared into the face of power.
"If thou art willing to give thy life for my cause, then take my hand," Willdog held out his hand as he spoke. "When tis done, I shall claim thy body as mine own. With it, I will return to the mortal realm, and lead our forces to triumph over the scourge that has swept across the Land."
John felt no hesitation as he reached out and took his lord's hand. There was another brief moment where John felt euphoria fill him as his mind joined with Willdog's, and then John Smith felt and saw no more.
Willdog stood and examined the mortal body he had inhabited. Finding himself covered in blood, the god shook his head disdainfully.
"This will not do," he stated. With a simple gesture, the wounds that had caused his loyal subject's demise were gone, replaced by new untouched flesh.
Willdog looked around, taking in the city he had awoken in. It had been such a long time since he had observed the mortal plane that he barely recognized his surroundings. The grittiness of the plane that his subjects inhabited immediately offended Willdog's senses, but there was nothing to be done for it except make short work of the job he had come to do.
The sounds of battle coming from the inner city caught his ear. Undoubtedly, it was the last of his subjects fighting for their lives. Willdog smiled slightly. They were in for a surprise. With one last look around, Willdog began to move. With a running leap, he jumped several hundred feet, landing directly in the middle of the town square.
The square was in chaos. The army of his subjects had been diminished to a pathetically small number, but they were fighting to the last man. Elias's men shouted and taunted the defenders, clearly gleeful at being on the cusp of victory. Willdog's subject shouted back defiantly, calling the attackers traitors to their lord.
Willdog silenced them all with a bellow. "STOP THIS VIOLENCE!" he said, his voice bouncing off the surrounding buildings and filling the square. Both armies stopped to look at him, surprise evident on their faces. "I, THE LORD WILLDOG, HAVE RETURNED! ARMIES OF ELIAS, LAY DOWN THY ARMS AND THOU SHALT BE SPARED... IF NOT, THEN NO MERCY WILL BE SHOWN!"
Willdog's subjects rejoiced. Some of them shouted with glee, others began to weep openly, but they all eventually took their rightful place and knelt before him.
Elias's subjects scoffed disbelievingly. Surely this was some trick that the defenders were attempting as a last ditch effort to save their skins. They readied their weapons and faced Willdog, ready to rush him at a moment's notice.
Willdog sighed, bored of their mortal foolishness. Deciding that he didn't want to waste time on such common soldiers, Willdog took a deep breath and blew it out at the soldiers. A mighty gale swept up Elias's men and hurled them from the city leaving only one enemy soldier behind.
Willdog stared the man down, and he literally began quivering in his boots as the god seemed to tower over him.
"You!" Willdog said. "Tell the Evil Lord Elias that Lord Willdog has returned! So run, you cur! RUN!" The man turned and fled, and the god called after him. "Tell all the other curs the lord's coming! You tell 'em I'm coming! And hell's coming with me, you hear? HELL'S COMING WITH ME!"