DISCLAIMER: I make no money from the posting of this story and I acknowledge
the fact that the BMFM belong to it's creaters and distributors.
Vinnie woke up to the sound of methodical hoof beats, squeaky wheels
and marching chants. The floor beneath him was cold and hard. He lifted
his head and tried to open his eyes. Immediately his body reacted, his muscles
cramped, he began to sweat, his mouth was incredibly dry and he was nauseously
hungry. He rolled over with a groan and pulled his knees up to his chest.
The only thing he wanted now was for the world to just go away. As he lay
there trying to block out the pain a more subdued sound reached his ears,
an incessant metal against metal grinding, almost inaudible.
Presently the symptoms faded and he struggled to come up on his hands and knees. He found himself in what seemed to be a giant brass bird cage on wheels.
The chanting was coming from about a battalion of human soldiers just behind him. Up front, the cage was pulled by two lumbering beasts that looked like a cross between an ox and a rhino. The grinding came from where Jeanie and Throttle knelt facing each other. They were bent over working at something and whispering.
"Hey bro, where are we?" he moaned.
Throttle put a finger to his lips but it was too late. Quickly he and Jeanie swivelled so that they were sitting back to when the guard came over from his seat on one of the cow things' back. He looked like he was all head with a gaping mouth and stubby arms and legs.
"Shuddap ya stinkin'' gerbil! There'll be no talking in my ranks by prisoner or private." He prodded a jagged spear through the bars.
When he left Throttle and Jeanie sighed simaltainiously and swiveled back into position. The soft grinding started again.
"Whacha doin'?" Vinnie asked quietly, leaning in closer.
"Escaping," Throttle replied matter of factly.
"Oh, from whu..." Then he remembered what happened. "Hey! You've got a lot of explaining to do sweetheart."
"I know," she said calmly. "I was waiting for you guys to get up but I guess we can fill Modo in later. It all started five years ago. I was still a farm kid runnin' around as I pleased and doing pretty good in school. One day I stumbled upon a gang in the midle of a weapons deal. For some reason the leader took a liking to me and instead of using me for target practice he told me to keep my mouth shut and leave town for good. He would have taken out my family if I didn't. I was going to leave in the morning, but when I was sitting on my porch that night I fell asleep. I woke up later to find myself sitting in the orchard under my favorite peach tree. This big weird blonde guy was standing in front of me looking really mad. Something about the ball in my pocket. When I checked there was this glowing orb right where he said it was. At first we were both really confused. He said his name was Aniky and after a long talk he decided to teach me how to use the orb and take me with him to wherever he was going.
The first thing we did was gather a small army of creatures from different dimensions. There was Trodar, Binxe, Rowina, Dirgey, Fatina and Ethia. Each of us had something to contribute except me. The only reason I was there was there was because of some intricate plan Korack had to ensnare me. We all went to his Spiral Tower to rescue Talmor and some other members of Aniky's royal family. Korack met us at the gate and let us in. He claimed to be one of his master's humble servants and inquired after our business. I think he only did it just to get a good look at us. After hearing Aniky's demands he got all teary eyed and pretended to secretly side with us against his master. He released the prisoners and let us all leave after a hot meal.
After that me and a couple others of the group figured we were all outcasts and wandered around aimlessly for a while before I stumbled onto Kythe. Things clicked into place for all my friends and whoever had banished them came crawling back asking for their help.
It took a few more less pleasant encounters with Korack to learn that he had a disease called the manna hunger that made his body eats itself up unless he obtained energy directly by sucking it right out of his living victims. If he couldn't find victims he would just digest whatever else he touched to stay alive. I guess he got it in his head that if he could get a hold of more powerful beings he could go longer without having to feed therefore saving more lives. Since then I've been on the run."
"What about this Jevier guy? What's he get out of it?" Throttle asked.
"Sadistic pleasure and as much gold and silver as he can possibly stand."
"Why didn't you tell us about this before?" Vinnie sounded annoyed.
"Because Korack's got a brain trust that searches the multiverse for people that know of him rather than people that know Jeanie Harper. I guess it's just easier because there might be a million Jeanies and only a handful of Koracks because the disease is so rare."
"He only feeds on you," Vinnie sounded unbelieving.
"No, I'm just one of his favorites because I seem to regenerate faster than most."
There was a long unsettling pause as both Vinnie and Throttle thought her through. The scraping noise grew more vigorous as she plunged her dagger into the enchanted brass floor. Modo groaned in the corner as he was coming to. The bars glinted in the light of the setting sun. Far ahead a dark tower loomed up like a bird's talon clawing it's way out of the earth. It was wrapped by a narrow stairway leading up to the battlements. Smaller towers sprung up from the main one like branches at various points on the stairway.
Throttle's voice sounded like a cannon in comparison to the murmuring sounds of the march as he asked, "How long do you suppose we've been out?"
Jeanie shrugged, "Maybe two days. It's hard to tell if I don't know how much gas they used."
"Shut up or you'll all have your tounges removed!" This time the guard didn't even bother to see who had made the infraction.
"Oh man what happened to my...." Modo's question was cut off as his bros slapped their hands over his mouth.
"Shhh," whispered Throttle, "We're all here in one peace but we won't be for long if we don't keep quiet."
Modo nodded rubbing his head. "Hey bro, where are we?"
"Korack's Tower." Jeanie answered. "How do you feel?"
"Not good," he said rubbing his aching ribs.
"Then just lie back and rest. The symptoms will disappear in a bit." Lord knows, she thought, we'll all need a rest before the moon rises.
Once again the grinding started and the bros sat together back to back, there eyes still drooping sleepily as an after affect of the sleeping gas.
They were jolted into alertness by a loud thud and jostling of the cage as if it had just run over something. Vinnie and Throttle sprang to their feet in time to see Jeanie hit the ground and roll into the ditch. She slipped into the underbrush as silent as a deer. Behind them was the big chunk of brass Jeanie had cut out.
They turned to Throttle.
"Not even Vinnie could get through a hole that size."
"Hey I'm not THAT small" Vinnie cried out indignantly. But one look at the hole and he had to agree.
"YOU TRAITOR!!!!" Vinnie shouted throwing himself against the bars in rage. "Come BACK here you COWARD!!!
But Jeanie flew on heedless of his words, her feet barely touching the ground. Branches and creepers lashed at her face. Her long flowing hair snagged on everything and her loose tunic was slowly turning into confety at the hands of mercilees thorns. Suddenly the earth fell away beneath her and she ran her legs still pumping through the air. Until gravity at last found it's grip on her and she found herself in a swan dive toward the cold and rocky ground. With a reaction time honed to perfection by many a boring drill she tucked and rolled before she hit the dirt and tumbled the rest of the way down a deep gully. At the bottom she crawled beneath the shelter of a bush with leaves the size of coffe tables and lay there shaking. The last of that energy burst disapated.
She looked glumly at the dagger and slingshot her only weapons. "No sword my rights shall guard and no faithful harp to praise me," with this she lay down for a quick nap and around her rain came down like a thick mist. Presantly she got to her feet and headed for the tower, collecting slingshot fodder as she went.
Vinnie felt an explosion of pain as the butt of a spear was smashed into his face. And again as it flew at his ribs. The last strike hurt the most as the spears head pierced his shoulder. Modo rose up his one eye blazing so bright and hot it could have sent off spraks. He pulled at the guard's spear with both hands and the guard was yanked face first into the cage bars. His eyes were big as saucers and his gaping mouth; now missing more teeth than anyone ought to have in the first place; looked like it could acomitdate more that one foot. So Throttle and Modo were happy to oblige. Modo was about to pull out his arm cannon to finnish him off when Throttle stopped him.
"Better not, we might need it later and it'll make things easier if they don't know about that."
Modo had to agree. Thus our heroes entered the gates of hell appearently armed with nothing but a spear.