Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Hacks of Gorm, Part XXIII: The Doom of Cults


Gottschalk could see that Gorm was upset. At least he had broken free.

“You bite pretty woman! Now axe bite you!!!”

Two blue-haired cultists, one likely male, though the other’s gender couldn’t be told for sure, fell before the barbarian’s mighty weapon. Their shrieking bodies hadn’t even a chance to hit the ground before he was upon the Patrons next. The older cultists tried to dodge away, but Gorm grabbed one by the back of his chiton. The others pulled a lever- an attempt to de-platform him via some hidden trapdoor on stage- but Gorm leapt out of the way before it opened.

“Me hope this not too violent!”

The irony of Gorm’s taunt was likely lost on the Patron he had grabbed as he crashed his axe into his rib cage. Howling like some fell bringer of death, Gorm then hefted the screaming older cultist above his head, his vital humors pouring over the barbarian’s face. At that, most of the others fled in terror. Finally, with a mighty motion, he flung the near-dead Patron into the Never Stray from the Cult Path minstrels.

“See! He support you!”

Gorm had taken great issue with the Patrons’ hypocritical support for those violent minstrels while removing support for those who spoke against them- all the while claiming that those who spoke out were the ones advocating violence. Ironically, silencing people, preventing them from stating their grievances would only lead to one outcome: violence. And seeing Laurissa Austral being molested by some orc dressed up like Zeus gave Gorm an excellent outlet to vent his fury.

The orc glared back at the approaching, gore-covered barbarian. “Me Master Magic Orc Zeus! Woman mine, mutha f’er, get loose!” It smiled, jabbing with its fake thunderbolt as one would a spear, its yellow teeth revealed beneath its fake beard.

Suddenly, two of the other ‘Olympians’, another orc dressed as some hero and a traitorous human wench dressed as a goddess, crashed into Gorm from behind. The large barbarian fell and his axe clattered to the side. Orcish Zeus laughed and went back to grabbing at Laurissa inappropriately.

Gottschalk struggled against his bonds, but could not escape to help his friend. Night had now fallen fully and only the fires of the devastated city lit up the sky. Cries from the victims of the riots could still be heard in the distance. Soon countless goblins would be upon them, just as they had invaded his homeland of Dinglesfuhr. And just like then, they had been let in by cultists.

He looked over at the other prisoner, the well-dressed, older man in spectacles, Ramzeus, but he too could not escape. Even worse, it appeared that the Never Stray from the Cult Path minstrels had arisen from the flung-Patron attack and were looking to take out their frustrations on Gottschalk.

The stunty lead minstrel grabbed him by the ear. “Look what we have here, Gender Equals: a f’ing human male!”

“Aren’t you a human male yourself, minstrel?” countered Gottschalk.

“How Dare You Assume My Gender! And I might look human, like one of the ‘Western Folk’, but at least I’m not Amaranthine like you! Don’t worry though, I’ll help you make Amends for all the Evil you’ve done...”

He then pulled out a fell brand, one similar to what Gottschalk had seen the cultists use on their victims in town earlier that evening.

“Come on, you coward,” challenged Ramzeus, “You’re not going to even give him a chance to fight back?”

“Of course not,” laughed the minstrel, who unfortunately then began to break into song, “We must kill off every last one of you Human Supremies... in the Name of Diversity... By Every Means Necessary. Why, Amaranthine-guy, would we ever fight fair? The Great Glowing Spectral Rainbow in the Sky just doesn’t CARE!

And to emphasize his point, he stuck the brand in a nearby brazier. It still stunk of the fell herbs and filth common amongst cultists. Gottschalk hoped that the man would at least kill him before he had to listen to any more of his awful verses.

So now... it’s time to say, ‘Goodni-’ ”

But the minstrel hadn’t a chance to finish; Gorm had cracked him over the head with his axe. The other Never Stray from the Cult Path members ran for it. It appeared that the barbarian had beaten the orcish hero and the goddess traitor too, and now turned to lumber towards Master Magic Orc Zeus again.

Gottschalk let out a sigh of relief, but then realized the peril they still faced. “Wait! Set us free!”

The barbarian glanced back for a moment and distractedly swung his great axe, nearly taking off Gottschalk’s arm along with the rope that was binding him. But the man remained unwounded and set about freeing Ramzeus as well.

Gorm had reached orcish Zeus, though the creature was too distracted biting Laurissa again to notice. The poor woman was sobbing over the attack. The orc had begun to remove its pants too- Gorm knew he had to act fast.

“Zeus not orc,” he said calmly.

Master Magic Orc Zeus turned at the barbarian’s challenge, enraged, but Gorm only lopped off its head in a fluid motion. Foul blood gushed from the now gaping hole in its collapsing body. Despite getting splattered, Laurissa appeared relieved. Gorm was relieved too: that orc was bad.

Ramzeus nodded to them both, thankful to be free. Cultists at the far end of the clearing appeared to be reforming to attack, but a great boom erupted behind them, even shaking the stage upon which the four former captives still stood. At first, they thought the sound might be Zeus himself, tossing thunderbolts at all the cultist heresy that had occurred here.

Ramzeus realized that it was more of an explosion- one made by mortals. “Goblins?”

“Probably,” replied Gottschalk. “They usually don’t take kindly to performances and attempt to blow them up.”

“The cultists are fools,” added Laurissa as Gottschalk bandaged the last of her wounds. “They let the goblins in, only to have them kill them in return!”

“Why they so stupid?” pondered Gorm out loud.

As if in answer to his question, they could now hear the cultists scream and cry as the goblins drove into them mercilessly. Their cruel, curved blades stabbed without regard to how ‘Against Racism’ they claimed to be or ‘What Gender They Opted to Flow Into Today’. To the goblins, the cultists were simply all stupid humans to be killed.

Gottschalk, Gorm, Ramzeus, and Laurissa could hear the Patrons too, members of the Honesty and Peace committee that had condemned them earlier. Even as they themselves were butchered, their only concern was that this slaughter might lead to some Anti-Goblin Bias.

Gottschalk realized then that cults like this one, the one that had now destroyed Caelum Mount and even his homeland before, were doomed to fail.

The only question was: how many of the People of the West would these lunatics get killed before then?

Next week: The Hacks of Gorm, Part XXIV! And also, audio to go with new episodes (including this one)!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Hacks of Gorm, Part XXII: The Bonds of Tolerance

The cultists hauled the two bound men on stage as the crowd howled. The blue-haired woman, the one who had spoken before, followed behind. She bowed before the imitation god standing there.

“Oh great Master Magic Orc Zeus, tell us what to do with these... Racists!” She kept her eyes pointed reverently to the ground even though the creature’s fake beard wasn’t even on straight.

Being an orc, it at first began to lower its pants, since the kneeling woman was not uncomely. Some of the other ‘Olympian Gods and Heroes’ standing on stage nearby nudged it though. It was obvious that wasn’t what this human was looking for at the moment.

Realizing it too, Master Magic Orc Zeus readjusted itself and looked past the kneeling woman to the two captives: Gottschalk and Gorm. Unlike the other humans here, they obviously weren’t cultists. It strode over to strike them, but then its attention quickly turned to two other captives being led on stage: a younger, blond woman and a well-dressed, older man in spectacles.

“Oh, Zeus...” said the blue-haired woman somewhat impatiently. She gestured back to Gottschalk and Gorm.

The orc grimaced and struck her viciously, knocking the woman clear off the stage. “Nobody tell Master Magic Orc Zeus what to do!” The faces of the other cultists below went pale: they had no idea how to respond to a creature they worshipped attacking one of their own.

Gorm made to intervene, struggling against his bonds, but Gottschalk only shook his head. “We must wait for a better opportunity,” he whispered.

The large barbarian heeded his friend’s advice for now; his attention was quickly drawn to the blond woman anyway. “She pretty!” he yelled. He leaned over and tried to smile at her, but more cultists came up then, taking care to give Master Magic Orc Zeus a wide berth.

They brought all four captives to the stage’s center and tied them to dark poles so that they couldn’t move and remained standing. Gottschalk guessed that he, Gorm, the blond woman, and the man in spectacles were to be sacrificed soon.

Never Stray from the Cult Path returned as well and he realized that his own execution could not come soon enough. Listening to that Gods-awful minstrel band was certainly a fate worse than death. The dwarvish singer that led them glared at Gottschalk malevolently, almost guessing his thoughts. It appeared that he had another terrible song in mind just for him.

Gottschalk took a moment to glance at the spectacled man positioned beside him. It appeared that he couldn’t stand the minstrels either.

The blue-haired woman stumbled back on stage next. Her face was badly bruised and it even appeared her arm was broken. Some of the older cultists from before, the Patrons, escorted her. She came before Master Magic Orc Zeus again, prostrated herself, and began to blubber.

“Oh Great One! I Hope I Didn’t Oppress You with my reminder! Whatever we can do...” She broke down in tears before she could finish.

Despite the fake beard, the orc couldn’t hide its confusion over such a pathetic display- even by a cultist!

“What Existence Achiever means to say is: how can we support you, Master Zeus?”

The orc looked at the Patron who had spoken for a moment and then grinned widely. He pointed at the blond woman tied up on the stage with the others. The older cultist calmly nodded and then placed his hand on Existence Achiever. The blue-haired woman looked up at him, seeming a bit relieved, and hobbled over to address the audience again.

“My Friends, we now have the Final Act for Today’s Celebration: the Ultimate in Tolerance!” She made to gesture at the captives with one hand, but had to use the other, since Master Magic Orc Zeus had broken that arm.

“We present to you- the Lying Arch villain, Ramzeus, the Cruel Impeder of Goblin Migration, Laurissa Austral, and two Other Racists... for sacrifice!”

Existence Achiever then pulled out a long scroll to read the list of charges against the captives. Ramzeus, the man in spectacles, was apparently some sort of town crier who had denounced the cultists’ evil ways and had been critical of their destruction of Caelum Mount. Laurissa Austral, the pretty blonde, was accused of helping rivermen to stem the tide of goblins pouring across the Shenbyrg from the east.

Apparently, the Patrons had been allowing others to help finance the efforts of these two for a little while, but then had it stopped, deeming them ‘Violent’. No matter that Master Magic Orc Zeus had just smashed a woman in her face- the Patrons would still allow support for obviously violent orcs and cultists, but not the people who peacefully challenged their wickedness.

She then came to the charges against Gorm and him: their defeat of J. Kary Rotter, He-woman, and the Boas Constrictor (in Part XIX), which she framed as an unprovoked attack.

Gottschalk made to debate her on that point, but Ramzeus interrupted him. “Debate is pointless. Cultists are our enemies, you know? They only wish our people dead.”

He had to admit that the man had a point, but what else could they do? He wasn’t sure if they would be killed before Never Stray from the Cult Path began another song.

Existence Achiever was still not done reading the list of charges- she was now onto the many ‘Miniscule Encroachments’ that the captives had somehow oppressed her and Master Magic Orc Zeus with. The latter had grown impatient though and was already standing before Laurissa Austral, leering at her and beginning to lower its pants.

Gottschalk looked over at Gorm and it appeared that the mighty barbarian had grown weary. He guessed it was from all the droning on of Existence Achiever, like some twisted cultist bedtime story. He knew he had to act fast; the minstrels were getting ready to play.

“Ho there, Gorm! Where’s that pretty blond woman?”

The barbarian shook himself from his near-swoon. “What? Gott-chalk?” He looked around and saw that the orc was nearly upon her, gyrating and dancing to the screams of the crowd.

Gorm struggled against his bonds. The ropes stretched, but did not break.

Gottschalk spoke again, louder this time, struggling to be heard above the rising din "She told me something, Gorm: you know what it is?”

“She don’t like ropes?”

“She told me she really likes you!”

Gorm beamed at that, but then saw the orc bite her on the shoulder. Laurissa shrieked in disgust and terror. She struggled against her bonds, but could not break free. Her eyes then met his silently, pleading for help.

Gorm’s face went bright red. The cultists, the Patrons, Never Stray from the Cult Path minstrels, and most especially, Master Magic Orc Zeus barely heard the sound of his bonds breaking as the enraged barbarian came at them.

Next week: The Hacks of Gorm, Part XXIII!