Kroger Kurgans, Bear Slayer

At a distance you would think you were looking at some ancient beast reborn, but you would be wrong. You look upon a man. Kroger Kurgans, a barbarian from the frigid north, though only aged 18 winters was a tall and imposing figure. His skin was bronzed from prolonged exposure from the sun, his muscles were like those of a large ape, his reflexes like that of a Saber-Toothed Cat. His sullen brown eyes were hidden by his horned helmet, as was his unruly black mane. He was dressed in spiked gauntlets, shoulder guards, and well worn bear skin boots. He carried a long sword on his back as well as a large spear, used as a walking stick, and a rounded shield was strapped to his free arm.

The barbarian was deep within the mountains of Valurisia, on his way toward the city named for the mountain range. The winding mountain road began to steadily rise the farther Kroger walked. The scraggly peaks jutted up toward the grey, overcast like sky stone monoliths. A shrill trumpeting suddenly cut through the silence like a knife. A mammoth was nearby, he'd thought the giant beasts gone in this part of the world. With his curiosity peaked Kroger left the road to follow the sound until he came to a sheer drop, down below he could make out a mammoth being led by a man while a boy rode on the great beast's back.

As if sensing his presence the man halted, as did his wooly companion, and looked up toward Kroger. He felt the man's eyes meet his for he hurried onward with the mammoth quickly behind until he could see them no more.

"Curious behavior." turning back to return to the road he was met with the form of a giant bear. The great beast was three times Kroger's size standing on it's hind legs, it's eyes were red rimed and hateful, thick yellow foam drizzled from it's jowls. The Bear roared loudly, the sound echoed off the mountains and carried for miles and was heard by the mammoth man who only shivered slightly and continued onward. Kroger drew back his arm like an Olympic athlete and hurled the spear with all his strength.

The bear dropped forward at the last second, the spear grazed it's back and implanted itself firmly in the sheer rock face of the mountain, Kroger drew his sword as the bear charged and dove out of the it's path. Climbing to his feet the barbarian raised his shield as the massive animal wheeled around and swung it's massive clawed limb at an arc. The force behind in shattered the shield in the first blow and Kroger was forced to toss it away.

Rearing up on it's hind legs again Kroger saw his chance and leaped forward and swung his sword at an arc, cutting into the bears soft underbelly. Unfortunately the bear's thick fur and layers of fat stopped it from being the killing stroke. Jumping back Kroger barely avoided a swipe that would have severed his head from his shoulders. The barbarian soon found himself with his back to the mountain with no place to maneuver and the bear coming closer.

Most men would have been frightened for their lives and begged the god's to save them. But the barbarian only felt joy, this would be a death well earned.

"Come on you great thing!" he bellowed raising his sword. "Kroger still draws breath! Come and get me!"

The bear roared again and charged. Kroger drew back and brought his sword forward in a sweeping motion and cleaved the top part of the bear's skull in one swift motion. The great beast's body continued on despite death claiming it. The full weight of the bear slammed Kroger to the ground. The thick fur covered his mouth and nose, the wet, foul stench of the fur filled his nostrils, causing him to gasp for air but only found fur.

Placing his hands on the bear's chest he pushed up with everything in his being. His great veins stuck out prominently and his muscle strained under the bulk. Soon the bear's body lifted enough that Kroger was able to place his feet up onto the underbelly and pushed hard. When it seemed like his great strength would fail him the shaggy corpse rolled off of him.

He gulped in great breaths of air and finally sat up. When his body had rested long enough he stood and looked down at the dead bear, one of the last great bears still wild in the mountains. He had killed one of a dying breed.

"We are one in the same my friend." kneeling he placed his hand on the back of the great animal and bowed his head. "May the god's favor you and may you find fat game in the hunting grounds of the sky."

Placing his sword back into it's scabbard he went to retrieve his spear and found it had dug deep into the mountain, halfway us the shaft. After much fruitless pulling he left it there and with one final glance back to the fallen bear he headed back toward the road and onward toward Valurisia to sell his sword for hire.

END