JAG x SALT: The Prophecy & The Army

It had been a rough couple of weeks for me I been running the whole time it seemed. My mood was tense as I sat down at the local bar for a couple of cocktails. I had been avoiding the see for the most part or at least I thought I had, in reality the see was unavoidable. I was already drunk when saw Jag enter the bar. Jag was a legend not just as a hunter but a builder, and a visionary. He was also my friend. I approached him and greeted him with the quintessential heeeey! What the fuck are you doing here, followed up with an, I haven’t seen you in a while hug. We sat, ordered another round and began to catch up. He had been doing what he did best, which was building, but this time what he had built was different. Jag had been around when the Deaeyah had come and tried to destroy all the Spunges. He had seen how hard times could be but through those eyes he had also seen a way to fight back. He had learned to disguise himself so that the Deaeyah would not recognize him. Now years later he had built an entire village based on this principle where hunters like us could live in peace safe from the Deaeyah. As we sat talking an old crusty spunge whom I hadn’t noticed at first approached and without introducing him self began to speak. He told us that the Deaeyah had attacked before many times and had taken on many forms. His father had spoken of it in whispers long before he was old enough to understand, but that sure enough, the time came when the Deaeyah returned and took what it wanted, leaving most in ruin. He said he had seen the Deaeyah come three times himself and didn’t know how many times it had come before. Then he got very serious and leaned in like he didn’t want anyone else to hear what he was about to say. He looked worried, almost afraid as he spoke. He told us of a prophecy that was older than the Spunges. The prophecy told of the Deaeyah and its horrible ways, it said the Deaeyah would always return over and over until one day a small group of hunters would rise up and say “no more.” It foretold that using only the blade, the torch, and their minds, the hunters would chase off the Deaeyah and the see would be a safe place again. We had both been silent for some time while this strange character spoke, and when he finished we looked at each other with amazement. We turned and he had simply vanished. I was puzzled and yet his words rang true and I felt connected to them. In the conversation that followed, Jag and I decided that we would be part of those hunters that stood up to fight the Deaeyah and that when it returned, as it was sure to, we would be ready. We agreed that the next move was to build an army.


The Encounter1

Hunting Party Part 2: the Encounter


We pressed on for half a day by my best guess, and as the ridge that I had seen in the vision appeared finally in our path. I admit that I was genuinely surprised at first, but that was quickly replaced with excitement and a need to explain my on-the-spot sort of slapped-together plan. I was met with a sort of huh and ok Ill follow your lead, but I don’t know, prompting me to explain that I knew it would work some how. I started to try to picture how we might accomplish taking down such a large creature as a team in my own thoughts. Suddenly I noticed some movement just beyond the ridge which we were now very close to. I signaled to my cohorts that we should all look sharp from now on as we were approaching a creature of unknown size and demeanor. All chatter ceased, as we approached, some where in my brain softly spoken words began to emerge and inform each member of his task. It wasn’t fancy, I figured that the only way to gain an advantage over such a large creature was to wear it out. We would simply surround the creature get as close as possible without being detected and then confront it. If it tried to run away we would lash onto it and let it drag us along for the ride it until it got tired in which case we would finish it. If on the other hand it tried to attach then we would use our numbers and our hottest torches to subdue it or tire it out. I took point of course, since I didn’t want any of my hunter students to get injured or turned into food. The creature truly was huge, I tried to remain focused as we approached and resist my urge to try and study it up close. I waited until I was sure we were all in position and cleared my throat. Just as I was about to yell out at the top of my lungs the creature turned and stared right at me with its many eyes.

The events that followed were a blur, it was utter chaos. In those first few seconds I know I screamed at the hunters to run away but none did. They all held fast to their positions and did their best to distract the creature while I hacked away at it with my blade. Even the cluxtch was barely doing minimal damage to the hard surface of the creature. I moved as quickly as I could and the creature stayed right on top of me the whole time. My movements were getting sloppier and more desperate. I knew that If I didn’t finish this soon I would not finish it at all and perhaps I would be the one who got finished. As this thought breached my consciousness the creature reared up I assume to come down and crush me, but as it lifted I noticed its mouth or at least one of its mouths on its softer and normally unexposed under belly. I moved as fast as I could and struck at what seemed to be a week point. The creature let out a terrible bellow and started to come down on top of me. I had anticipated this and was already trying to move, but my blade was lodged. I really don’t know what happened next, but from the looks and descriptions of my hunting party I sort of pooped out from under the creature as it landed on my blade, it let out a muffled gurgle and then died. I was in shock we all cheered and hugged and high fived like we had just met Tony the tiger or something. Later I would learn that the creature we had slain was only a baby and had it been an adult or had its mother been present we would not have been so lucky.
We began to roll the creature over and it was then that I saw my luck had run out. My blade was in pieces. I picked them up with a heavy heart I thought of all the times this blade had fed me, had saved me, had guided me… My grief was cut short by fear. We had all heard it another creature approached, a bigger one, an angry one. I turned and yelled RUN to my hunting party, and as I started to run myself I noticed that a tooth from the creature we had slain had been dislodged by my blade when it broke. Instincts told me to grab it and run.



Hunting Party part 1: The Vision

I snapped back to sounds of two hunters celebrating they’re victory in catching their prey. I had been sort of daydreaming again but after this one I was going to have to stop calling it that at all. I had months before deciding to start a regimen of actively diving from the surface of the see and down as far as I could over and over. My goal being simply to observe what I could, try to take mental notes and look for patterns. Eventually this practice evolved into a type of meditation and as I practiced it more and more I became increasingly proficient at the diving process. This time I had been contemplating my decision to guide this tribe of hunters to the strange game that I had become known for being able find and cleanly kill. I had been some where else for what was only a moment in real time, but had been hours to me. I remembered the jolting feeling of the transition as it washed over me.  It was familiar but out of place at the same time. The feeling lead me to the realization that it was similar to that moment or moments just between sleep and consciousness It felt just like diving into the see but we were all ready fairly deep to hunt some of the more interesting creatures the see had to offer. The two hunters were now fully recovered and both looking at me with faces that said,  “what now it worked,” They had successfully captured two Snapper dragons which are small but very fast. A Snapper dragon is basically a stomach with teeth, and really isn’t a dangerous creature to encounter, as long as there’s only one of them that is. It had actually taken them a very long time and I thought about saying some thing like the “you were trying to catch it where it was, you should have been trying to catch it where it was going to be.” The clich echo of that thought prevented me from saying anything and instead I shook my head and simply helped them both up. A sense of excitement laced with fear gripped me as I thought about what I had seen in my strange vision. I thought of the nights that I had lay awake unable to shut down my mind and the feeling of being adrift in the see where time seemed to stop and speed up unpredictably. The vision had been so clear and so real. The see was deep in fact it seemed to have no bottom, but I had only gone so far. I had been instinctually staying at a depth that was comfortable to me for some time now. The vision had shown me what was beyond my comfort. I had seen a ridge that was not familiar to me. Beyond its edge a vast chasm an expanse of space and in that space I had seen the source of both my excitement and my fear. I had seen creatures so large and so intricate that I knew by the mere glimpse that I would not be able to best one alone. The vision was a sign, it was a message, and the see had issued me a challenge. I turned to hunters I had been guiding and said, “gather yourselves and stay close we are leaving.” One of the hunters looked on obviously puzzled and asked, “where” I smiled and simply said, “We’re going for bigger game.”



The King & The Cluxtch: Part 3

The sore flesh surrounding the worst of the small bites on my left arm awoke me. I could feel the dagger still in my hand. The smooth ridges of the Cluxtch flexed slightly as I regained consciousness. They had been after the blade, I had heard one call to the other, “get the blade”. The Cluxtch blade knew that I was awake. This was because it was no ordinary blade, a Cluxtch blade was alive. The Kings wisdom echoed in my memory, A Clutcherouxe is a creature that usually only grows to the size of large splitter. Normally a Clutcherouxe will attach itself to another creature or plant and feed off that creatures waste and life force for survival.

Long ago the earliest know natives of the see had discovered that the Clutcherouxe that lived down near where the new rock was made grew larger, and that if caught just as they are hatched could be attached to a shard of the extremely hard new rock. If taken care of properly they would grow onto the rock at the molecular level creating an un paralleled bond, and a blade. A Cluxtch blade, also called a stoned dagger, was virtually indestructible and light weight, the Cluxtch blade was a formidable tool, however the real secret to the power of yielding a Cluxtch blade was that the Clutcherouxe still needed to feed off the life force of another being namely the owner of the blade. So, over time a symbiotic relationship between the blade and its owner could be cultivated and result in an inexplicable increase in ability and performance. It was said that a skilled warrior with a well seasoned Cluxtch blade, fought as if in a trance with a calm intensity and an unyielding stamina, falling foes of much greater size and number. These warriors were long since lost to time and only tales of their way survived as artifacts. The words of the king rang still in my mind as I thought about what had happened. The king’s words already had proven to be as much a gift as the priceless Cluxtch blade and together, they had probably saved my life. I took my time carving the letters into the blade.



The King & The Cluxtch: Part 2

I spun sharply to the right and saw the owner of the terrible sound. The bottom feeder was a massive and belligerent creature, known for its unbelievable appetite and aggressive nature. They were normally about as large as an elephant, but this one was at lest twice that size. The beast had not yet noticed me. I slowly lowered my self to where I felt hidden and peered out at the Bottom feeder. It was only then that I noticed the being that had the Bottom feeder’s attention. It cowered under the crushing presence of the great creature. The beast was toying with him having already eaten its fill in guard tails it was taking it’s time with this last one. An eternity went by, and I felt frozen by my indecision. The beast reared up to strike a killing blow and I suddenly snapped. I jumped out of my hiding spot and threw a rock at the bottom feeder. It was a rash and pointless effort but it was a well aimed throw and it would have fell most small creatures. However the stone seemed to die when it hit the bottom feeder. The Feeder rolled its face towards the source of the annoyance and immediately let me know he saw me with a shrieking bellow.

I moved out to the left and started to look for some kind of escape or shelter. By now the Feeder was moving towards me and making a low pitched gurgling sound with its throat. The feeder’s original victim, astonished that he was not dead was slow to move at first. He finally had opened his eves only to see the Feeder moving away and towards some strange and unfamiliar being. I saw him stir in my peripheral but my focus remained steady and locked on the beast. My blade was strong and hand made, a good blade, I had killed creatures as large as this bottom feeder with it before. I circled to the left in order to gain more room to maneuver, my blade tightly fixed in my right hand. The beast was fast but fairly clumsy as it made its first attack. As I dodged back to the right I switched blade hands and dragged the cutting edge across the feeder’s throat. The blade skipped and scraped but left no mark. I had not realized that the creature was covered with such a tough scaly armor. When the Feeders would-be victim finally spoke, his words were level and calm, “The Cluxtch, you must try to use The Cluxtch, it’s the only way” he said. “There, on the ground to your right.” I could see the handle of a blade laying about five steps from where I was. The feeder roared loudly when I looked at the blade and started to run towards me. “NOW! THE CLUXTCH IS THE ONLY WAY!” I took two steps and dove at the blade. The Feeder move so quickly that it clipped my feet before I hit the ground spinning me out and leaving me a hands length from the blade and facing the feeder on my side. What happened next was not clear to me for some time. The Feeder moved in to strike and I braced my self to be chewed up. I had closed my eyes, then, somehow, the blade was in my hand and my arm was moving. I struck with a moderate amount of force but the blade glided right through the armor of the Feeder. The being called out something, but the long groan of the Feeder drowned out the sound. I jumped up and barely missed getting crushed by the raging Feeder. I shook off the terror and shock of the previous moments and calmness came over me. I turned to face the feeder squarely, this strange new blade tightly pressed in my hand. I waited, the feeder was wounded but only enough to be pissed and it roared once again at the insignificant creature that seemed to not fear it properly. The feeder struck and instead of trying to dodge I lunged forward with the blade at point and put all the force I had behind it. The Feeder gave a great cry as it stopped just short of crushing me. The full-length of my arm had followed the knife into the feeder’s throat plate. It fell with a gurgle and died. I brushed off and came over to the feeder’s original victim. He was hurt but not badly and when I came to him he spoke, “Thank you son. What is your name stranger?” he said. “I am Salt, I come from far away.” “Well Salt you just saved a king from death when it was almost certain. That blade you wielded was a Cluxtch blade and I have had it for a long time. It was passed down to me by my father and to him by his father and so on from our distant ancestors. What has happened here today is known as sefrh, it means that which hasn’t been seen. The blade has chosen you now it is yours.” I was astonished and it must have been clear because the king said, “all will be answered in good time, all you need to know now is that you have saved my life and I am very grateful.”

I learned much in the time I spent with the king. He was strangely compelled to teach me what he could, mostly about survival, or as he referred to it, longevity. Once he sat me down and gave me this warning. “There are many types in the see, Salt, you must be aware. I know that soon you will grow bored with the safety of the kingdom and leave us. There are those in the see that will be drawn to you. Some will be great allies, those that hold you up and whom you can trust. However there are also those that would take what you have like this one you’ve told me of in Loocodar. The see is ripe with these mercenaries and bandits out only for themselves. Your best weapon is your head. If they are following you then they are always one step behind you, you must use your head to stay focused on what truths you can find.” I remember thinking that it was a waste of time to try and track down this imposter in Loocodar. To what end? There was a wise rhetoric to the King’s words. I knew it was there but it took me a while to notice it. Put simply don’t give the negative attention, if you do, it takes away from the attention you give the positive. The day that I left, the king repeated these words to me with a noticeable amount of concern. “Trust only those who earn the right and none other. There will be many challenges and foes but the see has much to offer you Salt, Farewell.” And at that I left. I wandered in a direction that I had not gone in quite a while, down…….