Humakt And Zorak Zoran

Ephemera — Humakt And Zorak Zoran


And when it came that Humakt found another part of Death, it was in the hands of a troll named Zorak Zoran, who was twisting and bending it, so it was no longer sharp, and the clean lines of it were lost. Humakt heard the troll’s laughter and could see the Troll from a distance, because he was an honourable God, and had Truth as a Rune. He saw the Troll was also called the Hater, and knew that he would have to fight for Death. He began to pick his way through the corpses scattered in the cave of the Hater, but in the light of Truth his eyes were so brilliant that some of the corpses, which Zorak Zoran did not allow to rest in Death, cried out for release, and so the Hater was warned.

Zorak Zoran heard the cries of the dead, and laughed, and sent them out against Humakt, but he closed the lead gates of his great castle, so that Humakt was unable to enter when the dead had been laid to rest. Then the Honourable God went away, and he found two Darkness Runes, and he put them into his eyes. He still held Truth, and he could still see, but his eyes did not make the dead cry out, and so he was able to walk into the castle, past the gates of lead. He broke into the throne hall of the Hater, where Zorak Zoran was feasting on the bleeding corpse of one of his slaves, and challenged the Troll.

Zorak Zoran laughed again, and looked across the echoing hall, seeing how Humakt’s pale hair the colour of the glacier gleamed in the light of Truth. Humakt could not advance, for Zorak Zoran ordered all of his trolls and all of his trollkin to attack, and with rocks and mauls they forced the Sword God back.

Humakt cut off half his long warrior’s hair, and burned it to dark ash in the light of the Truth torch, and with that he darkened the rest, so from white it became black, and he walked into the throne hall of the Hater. The hall was empty now, because Zorak Zoran had gone to his stables, and Humakt followed him there, but Zorak Zoran laughed once more, and sent all of his favourite beetles, stabbers and fliers and acid jetters, to attack Humakt, and they surrounded him, and came up from the floor, and came down from the ceiling. By the time Humakt had fought them all, his armour was painted in dark blood, and only a single scale shone.

By the time the fight was finished, Zorak Zoran was laying down to rest in his mushroom garden, full of trollkin flesh and merry with drink, but Humakt burst in, and the Hater rose to fight him. The battle was long and both were hurt, but by the end Humakt had torn off the mantle from Zorak Zoran’s shoulders, and Zorak Zoran had torn Humakt’s armour, taking the last bright scale. Humakt was bleeding from many bites, and he had broken bones from Zorak Zoran’s club, but he had taken Death back from the Hater. Humakt walked from the castle with lead gates, with some of the Troll’s teeth still in his flesh. He was hardly able to stand, but when he stopped to rest he could hear the shouts of trolls behind him, and so he walked on.

When he emerged from Darkness, he was changed, for Truth had seen him change himself and he would not undo it. His blue eyes were black, and his once-white hair was the colour of jet, and his armour was stained black, with not even a single bright scale left, and that is how he stayed, because to change back would have made lies of what he had done.