Joreck and the Shoggoth Steel and many other exciting stories are available NOW in Kevin Strange’s newest collection, All The Toxic Waste From My Heart on Amazon Kindle and in paperback here.
Joreck and the Shoggoth Steel
The lich’s hair was as red as a devil’s dick. Joreck watched her from behind the red rocks as she crept through the valley in the fading light.
Stupid lich, he thought. Her decomposing flesh stunk so bad, Joreck would have been able to track her from two hundred paces, let alone the mere twenty he put between them on this day.
The lich turned, casting a tentative glance behind her. Even in death, the woman still retained some of her beauty; in life, she must have been a magnificent creature to behold. The filthy rags she wore did little to hide her dead body’s curves.
Her right breast hung full and still quite perky. Her left had been obliterated by some sharp object, no doubt intended for her heart. This wound was probably what ended the lich’s mortal life (be it by foe, friend, or self-inflicted, Joreck didn’t know). This wound left her breast neatly cleft in two halves, directly through the nipple, almost giving the impression of three breasts hanging from her chest instead of two. The center of the two halves of breast meat was a dark black hole which spiraled out into spider webbing cuts.
Joreck should have been disgusted, but the soft, fair features of what was left of her face, wide hips, round ass and her three tits, combined with that red hair, made him strongly aroused.
The thick barbarian shook his head to clear his lustful thoughts. His shoulder-length white hair tousled back and forth. He wasn’t here to fuck. He was here to kill the stinking lich for what she’d done to him and his warriors.
He jumped over the red boulder hiding him from view down into the valley, landing solidly, his furry Thurmskill skin boots absorbing the impact. He’d slain the awful beast with his own hand, making the sturdy footwear for himself and his band of mercenaries. The pair of thick straps crisscrossing his barrel chest and the thin loincloth covering his sex were procured from the same many-horned monster. Indeed, the creature’s horns jutted out this way and that from the tops of his nearly knee-high boots, and he wore a necklace of the blood-stained things around his enormous neck.
“Wench!” Joreck yelled, standing straight up, sticking his sweat-drenched chest out. “Return my people at once and I shall grant you a swift death!”
Three Tits turned at the same moment Joreck reached for his sword with his right hand. The lich’s rags billowed from the motion, revealing a huge, muscled right arm hastily sewn to where her own should have been. The telltale leather bands around the bicep and wrist adorned with Thurmskill horns made true what Joreck had just discovered.
When he reached for his sword, he felt neither blade nor arm. The pain hit him like a Gurock running with all six legs. He looked down, gape-mouthed. Blood crusted over the same type of crude stitching that now held his arm affixed to the lich.
When he looked up, the lich had cleared the distance, standing now face to putrid, half-missing face.
“Y-you… you took—”
This? Three Tits grabbed Joreck’s sex through his loincloth with his own right arm.
Still reeling from the sudden realization that his limb was stolen from him, Joreck flinched backward, but the lich did not release her grasp. Strangely—even through the pain, the noxious odor the lipless creature emitted through her decaying mouth only inches from him, and the fact that it was his own hand gripping his tenderest parts—Joreck could not help but become further aroused. Be it from the weird circumstances or the natural beauty under the living corpse’s necropsy, he could not be certain.
Worse, the barbarian realized that he could still feel with his dismembered appendage. He was not in control of its movements, but nevertheless felt the sensation of his soft, veiny bulge being stroked by his missing hand.
As Joreck became fully erect inside his own grip, Three Tits lightly touched his face with her female hand and leaned in close, whispering, This is my power. I am death. I decide what you feel, and when you get to die. How ’bout I rip your head off and make you suck your own cock?
Joreck furrowed his brow. He was Joreck, son of Joreck the Mighty Moon King. He would not be spoken to in such a manner. He had slain an entire flock of winged Gengo in the Tileck forest with but a single quiver of arrows. During the Ranghalo beast mating season, at that!
The barbarian spotted his sword under the lich’s dirty robes, slung across her back. With his remaining arm, he snatched the blade, flipped it in the air, caught it with the blade pointing downward, and ran the lich through before she had time to react.
She screeched, releasing his member, and collapsed to the ground, her fiery red hair covering her face. Black blood ejected from her mouth as she wailed, covering Joreck’s prized possession.
His Moonblade glowed with a hint of blue even as it was defiled with the stink of the undead, its beauty crying out to be saved from the clutches of the forsaken.
Joreck’s father’s father’s father had seen the molten steel as it came crashing down to the ground in a great ball of blue fire. A Blacksmith by trade, Joreck the Elder forged the sky-metal into the greatest blade to ever slay a Nogmura. Its edge needed never to be sharpened. No substance was safe from its killing strike.
Joreck himself had inherited it from his father after the king’s unfortunate poisoning from the bite of a rabid Zill when they were adventuring together in the far-off forests of ZORR. The Zill made King Joreck mad with disease. Joreck the Junior was forced to strangle him to death with the thorny vines of a Reek Tree, lest he be attacked and poisoned as well, thus giving him full rights to the Moonblade.
Three Tits’ wails continued as Joreck lectured the lich about his hereditary right to the special blade, when the creature’s shoulders started to bounce up and down and her wailing suddenly turned to laughing. With Joreck’s left hand, she grabbed the blade, instantly slicing it down to the bone.
Joreck’s lecture ended instantly. He winced in pain, pawing at the empty space where his hand would have been, had it still been connected to his body. To his horror, the lich woman stood fully upright, yanking the blade from her wound.
You big, dumb oaf. You have no idea the power this metal possesses.
As if to accentuate her point, the blade began to vibrate, glowing brighter until the once perfectly straight sword began to fold and wave like a flag in a strong wind.
“Sorcery!” Joreck yelled, shielding his eyes as the blade’s shimmer increased. Squinting through his hands, he staggered back and fell to his knees at what he saw.
His precious Moonblade was melting! The blade liquefied, covering Three Tits’ hands and arms in shimmering blue liquid metal. The metal crawled up her shoulders, across her cleaved chest, finally covering her face and legs until the entire lich was encased inside the Moodblade metal, save for her luscious red hair.
Joreck cried out in confusion as the shape of the lich began to change. She grew taller, her mouth wider, filling with metal fangs. Her hands tripled in size and her fingers became long talons. Insect-like legs grew from her back as her own legs fused together, forming a thick trunk which split into two and curled up over her head and back around, ending in sharp, spiked tails.
The barbarian fell backwards, turned and scrambled to his knees, trying to find purchase, but succeeded only in falling over something blocking his path. Joreck turned his head to see, to his horror, that he’d tripped over the carcass of Orilious, his most trusted commander, the man whom Joreck had fucked and killed with for nigh on twenty cycles. Orilious’s eyes had been gouged out, and behind them Joreck could see that his brain was gone, his head an empty husk as though its contents had just been sucked out.
Glancing around, the barbarian shuddered in disbelief. Strewn all over the valley were the dismembered remains of his entire group. Across the way was Nirod, the half-shaved giant gorilla-man Joreck had always counted on to breach any fortification his crew came across. Now he lay with his shaved half propped neatly against a rock, bleeding out his life’s blood onto his hairy half, cleaved neatly down the middle.
Over there lay Treena, the sole female in the group. She’d proven to be the stealthiest of assassins when she was able to sneak up on and apply a blade to both his and Orilious’s throats while they both enjoyed a bar wench with a huge ass so wide it was able to accommodate both men’s cocks. She solidified her place at Joreck’s side when she joined in, proving her sexual appetite for big bar wench asses to be more than Orilious and himself combined.
Her ornately braided hair had been torn from the scalp, along with the skin from every limb and both her tits. Flayed alive.
Joreck closed his eyes. He hadn’t the time to mourn them, but he would live to avenge them, he swore silently to the most savage of his gods.
Joreck felt a pinch and pressure in his chest. Suddenly he was high above the ground, kicking his feet and swinging his remaining arm. He looked down and saw the metallic appendages poking out of his ruptured skin. He was skewered like a human shish kebab.
Further pain throttled any attempt of escape as the three-titted metal monster sunk its claws next to where its tails already penetrated Joreck’s large frame. The barbarian wheezed through punctured lungs, unable to even scream as unrelenting agony bombarded his shocked senses.
The monstrosity pulled Joreck close, breathing boiling hot breath next to his ear. Save your friends, barbarian. They need you.
That’s when Joreck heard their voices. Looking out across the valley, Joreck found it in himself to scream, despite the severity of his wounds.
All of his men were somehow alive, somehow in pain, all moaning his name, reaching for him with gnarled limbs and stumps dripping fresh blood as if they’d only just been cut down in that instant.
Joreck! Joreck! Joreck!
Save them, barbarian. Kill them. The metal beast whispered. Release them from their suffering.
“I-I…,” Joreck labored, his mouth filling with blood. “I cannot!”
With that, the monster flexed her limbs and ripped Joreck into thick, bloody pieces, dropping him amongst the living corpses of those he held closest in this mortal life.
The dead dragged themselves toward his chunks, moaning his name in maddening rhythm.
As they descended on him, shoving his gory pieces into their mouths, he could not move.
Could not defend himself.
Could not scream.
Could not die.
The barbarian woke screaming. His blood boiled. Sweat drenched his body. It took several moments to gather his bearings.
He was still in the canyon. Taking ragged breaths, he felt across his midsection, finding it intact. He breathed a sigh of relief. It had been a dream. A fever dream.
His memories flooded his mind.
The lich. Yes. She was real. She had attacked his mercenaries as they marched home in victory after vanquishing the cruel wizard Haramond for his atrocities against the bird people of Dorchhun. Their king had paid a hefty ransom for the head of Haramond, and Joreck’s warriors meant to spend every last coin of it.
Still drunk on mead and wench from the night before, the pack of barbarians fell victim to the lich woman as they sang songs and washed cock at the river Rickendale. The images of his men being struck down in an instant by the powerful witch swam across Joreck’s fever-pickled mind.
He still heard their screaming as the redheaded demoness single-handedly broke them one by one, maiming them where they stood while Joreck watched helplessly from the middle of the river; one moment he dunked his head beneath the waves to wash his hair, the next, before he could even wipe the water from his eyes, half his men already lay in bloodied heaps at the river bank.
By the time he drew the Moonblade from its sheath upon his back and waded to shore, the others had been similarly incapacitated. Not killed. No, they each lay with broken back, shattered knee, twisted neck or other such malady that rendered them helpless but very much alive.
Joreck pointed the Moonblade at the lich as he climbed out of the river. “I’ll have your head for this, wench. And all three of your tits.”
That was the end of his memories. A yawning blackness lay between that moment and this, revealing none of its secrets.
The barbarian tried to get up but felt an enormous weight tug against him. The arm the lich had stolen in his fever dream. Panicking again, he reached out tentatively, fearing what he might or might not find. His finger tips rested on cold metal.
Joreck looked down. Even in the dark, cold valley night, the moonlight reflected off the steel, giving it a blue glow.
But how could that be? The shape that dug into his body, that penetrated his skin at various jagged, tendril-like points was gigantic. Thick as a barrel, Joreck looked on astonished and sick to his stomach as he traced the hulking piece of twisted metal with his eyes. There must have been ten feet of steel grafted to his shoulder where his right arm should have been.
He tried again to stand, but that only caused the heavy metal to dig deeper into his flesh. Trapped like a rabid Relk, he groped around on the ground with his free hand, finding a thick stone. Without another thought, he bashed it against the point of connection between flesh and steel, sending excruciating pain through his shoulder, and clanging off the metal hard enough to create a vibration that only exacerbated the agony.
Sweating away whatever fluid remained in his body, again and again he smashed the rock off his arm, yanking against the metal, ignoring the pain until exhaustion and fever claimed him.
When he awoke the next morning, two things were apparent. The first, his fit of self-inflicted rage had little effect on the connection between the metal and his arm, aside from some superficial cuts and bruises. It seemed his strength was about that of a baby dingus during his night of fevered thrashing.
More importantly, though, it was quite clear he would not survive the day. While his fever had broken sometime in the night, he was severely dehydrated. His lips were already split open and completely dry, smacking together like two worn pieces of parchment.
Utterly exhausted, stuck on a rocky slope with no shelter in sight, with no food or water, body fused to a giant hunk of metal, he simply closed his eyes and waited to die. Even a barbarian as mighty as Joreck could only overcome so much before his spirit broke.
Laying there, baking under the heat of all three suns, he prayed to the gods and readied himself for the great passage to the next realm.
That’s when he heard it.
Water. Running water. The river.
Close, too. The ridge he lay on must have only been thirty or so yards above the river bank. Joreck strained his sun-soaked head, pulling against the hunk of moonsteel, but he could not see over the ridge. If he could make it to the water, he could survive. He could heal. He could avenge his warriors.
And then he heard them. Moaning. Broken, yes, but as his last memories had shown him, the lich woman hadn’t killed them! She’d maimed them. She’d left them for dead. But at least some of them were still alive down there.
“Help! Help me!” Joreck tried to scream. But his throat was as dry as the underside of a Mulk. No sound escaped. He would die here, then. Just a stone’s throw away from those who needed him. From those whom he needed in return. Together they could live. Apart, they would all surely perish before the third sun set for the night.
The lich was keeping them alive. But why? Why not just kill them where they lay? If he was going to ponder the motives of the actions of the undead woman, why in seven hells would she bind him to a giant hunk of moonsteel and leave him die?
It didn’t matter. Not at that moment, anyway. Not if he wanted to live.
And he did, he realized. He did want to live. For his men. He needed to live so that they may live as well. He was their king. King Joreck would not die at the hands of a dirty lich, nor from the heat of three suns. He wouldn’t die from the heat of a thousand suns!
Shielding his eyes with his free hand, he surveyed the ridge, looking for something, anything to free himself from the weight of the moonsteel. The rocky surface was host to scant shrubbery, loose stones, and little else. Then he spotted it: A broken tree branch, dropped there by some passerby. Raiders, maybe, or Trorodek herders. It didn’t matter. What mattered was that Joreck get a hold of it before the three suns baked him from the inside out.
Using his boot, he kicked at the stick, barely missing with the tip of his toe. He strained against the heavy hunk of metal, pulling against his shoulder until he was sure his arm was about to rip free from its socket. Finally after another few failed attempts, Joreck managed to kick it close enough to grab it with his free hand.
Exhausted, starved and overheated, he jammed the stick on the far side of the metal, giving himself the mechanical advantage with his body weight as he attempted to roll the huge block over. The stick bowed against the tremendous force as Joreck sunk every drop of energy into pulling against it until it splintered, only moving the block of metal ever so slightly toward him.
That was enough for Joreck to get his free arm around the thing and use the momentum to pull it over on top of him. He didn’t worry about burning his flesh. Moonsteel did not become heated under direct sunlight. The metal edges jutting up from his shoulder rested against a slightly higher point on the ridge, allowing him to slide his body underneath the bulky structure, finally finding cover from the merciless suns. There, under the shadow of Moonsteel, he curled his legs into his chest, wrapped his free arm around them and slept, praying he would not dream.
Mercifully, he did not. He did, however, wake to a tugging sensation against his lip. Keeping calm, he opened one eye. A Trorodek had stumbled into his makeshift encampment. Joreck was in luck! The gods favored him this day after all.
With his free hand, Joreck snatched the lizard by its long neck and smashed its head against the rocks before the poison-tipped talons on its sixteen legs could react. Ripping the head off the creature with his teeth, Joreck drank its blood heartily until he choked and coughed the green fluid all over himself.
Snapping a talon free of its poison sac, Joreck proceeded to gut the animal and eat its organs raw. Satisfied, he turned his attention back to the matter at hand. Judging by the placement of the suns, he’d slept the entire day away. Two were already set, with the biggest, closest sun only a few hours behind them.
Fully rested, fed and hydrated, Joreck made his move.
He braced his free arm against the rocks. Sliding his feet firmly apart, he proceeded to push with all his might against the moonsteel until he’d managed to stand fully erect. With the full motion of his body and his rejuvenated energy, he was able to slowly drag the slab of steel over the rocks, bringing him closer to the top of the ridge.
Curiously, the sound of the river had ceased. A low chanting and wet flopping sound had replaced it. What sort of magic, Joreck wondered, could hide the sound of a river?
The answer came soon enough. Moonsteel slab in tow, Joreck reached the ridge peak, giving him full view of the river valley below.
What he saw left him breathless.
The sound of the river was gone because the river itself was gone. The flopping noises were the fish-like dondons flapping their prehensile water-wings around trying to find it again. A three hundred yard swath of now dry land lay in between two twenty-foot-high roiling waves standing motionless, one at each end, as though some giant invisible god had parted the river with its hands and stood patiently waiting for whatever came next.
In the middle of the riverbed stood the lich woman, along with all of Joreck’s warriors.
They yet lived. There was still time to save them.
His band of mercenaries numbered thirteen. They knelt, hands bound behind them, in a semicircle facing the lich, who stood with her back to Joreck. Behind each warrior was a tall cloaked figure. In their hands, the figures held long blades to the throats of his men.
At the lich’s signal, the figures drew their blades across those throats in unison. Fountains of blood sprayed across the dondons, painting the river bed with crimson death. The bodies of the warriors slumped over one by one.
Joreck’s screaming gave away his location, but the anguish surging through him as he watched the murder of his people caused something else to happen.
Suddenly, he could feel his arm again. Or more accurately, he could feel the moonsteel connected to his shoulder. It felt like a limb of its own instead of dead weight straining against his body. At once he knew he had control of it.
Just as easily as he would his own elbow, he willed the thick hunk of steel to bend. Groaning, the moonsteel folded in the middle. Astonished, Joreck took his newfound will over the object a step further. He envisioned a set of fingers with his minds eye. Immediately, three points the size of small swords jutted out from the end of the metal. Joreck opened and closed a fist with his new digits. No longer did the metal arm feel like a burden. Now it felt like a powerful weapon. A weapon he would use to smash the lich and her minions to pieces!
Eyes wild with fury, Joreck lifted his giant metal arm and smashed it back down onto the rocky ridge, using the momentum of the shock wave to launch himself into the air, high above the carnage in the riverbed. Extending the arm downward and enlarging the hand as though the actions were no more than a flick of the wrist or the blink of the eye, Joreck landed in the circle, smashing two of the tall hooded figures into mush.
“Woman! You have not yet known suffering!” the enraged barbarian said, shrinking the metal arm back to its previous size. The jutting spikes coming from all sides of the moonsteel swayed like the tendrils of a Sonrook, and were just as deadly.
The rest of the hooded figures gathered around the lich.
“What took you so long, barbarian?” she asked, sneering at her foe.
Seething, Joreck sent a pair of the tendrils out, felling the two figures closest to the lich in one quick strike without ever taking his eyes off of his dead warriors. “Was one wizard really worth all of this death?”
“Haramond?” the lich laughed. “You think this is about that old man? Haramond was a heathen and a heretic. This is about you, Joreck. You and your Shoggoth blade.”
Joreck looked down at his metal arm. “The Moonblade. What mockery have you made of my most precious weapon?”
“The Shoggoth steel did not come from the moon, silly man. It came from a place far from the simple minds of your people. A beacon! A warning for what is yet to come! A tool to destroy us all!”
Suddenly, another hooded figure fell.
Roaring, Joreck’s gorilla-man climbed to his feet. Nirod yet lived. The wound on his enormous muscled neck had not been deep enough to end his life. Even with a broken arm and leg, he was unmatched in size and strength. Now the beast man tore through the hooded figures, dropping them with single powerful blows until he stood side by side with his barbarian king, panting and nursing his wounds.
“It is good to see you again, my friend,” Joreck said, embracing the gorrila-man. Their reunion, however, was short-lived.
The hooded figures stood again. Some of their hoods and robes had fallen away, revealing a nightmare patchwork of rotten corpses, multiple heads and limbs jutting this way and that from their bloated bodies. The lich had created a zombie army.
“Kill them all,” Joreck whispered.
Nirod roared again and stomped toward the nearest zombie, grabbing it up by the leg and using it like a club as he beat the zombie next to it into a pulp.
“We’re going to need those,” Three Tits said, smirking.
“You’ve lost, hag,” Joreck said, extending his metal fingers into one long blade. “Concede defeat and prepare to join the wizard in hell.”
Joreck lunged at the lich woman, but the blade stopped inches from her face. The barbarian strained against some unseen force, but could not run the evil witch through. The arm would not obey his command. Stubbornly, he continued to push forward, digging his heels into the soggy riverbed. “I…will kill… you.”
“Not today, barbarian. I need your strength. I need your rage. A far greater evil than I—far greater than anything this world has ever seen—is coming. I need you to help me stop it.”
Joreck strained against the metal, shoving with all his might. But even with his attention on his metal arm, he could feel his loins stirring again. He found himself glancing at the lich’s cleaved bosom. “Never. I’ll never help you.”
Three Tits knelt down and scooped up a handful of dead warriors’ blood from the puddle formed at her feet. She splashed the thick liquid across her face, arms and chest. Bathing in it. When she stood, her form was no longer corpse-like. Her true mortal beauty showed. She was a young woman with pale skin and features that made Joreck’s knees weak and cock hard. The only thing giving away her sinister identity was the hole in her chest separating her breasts. Her killing wound could not be hidden by sacrificial blood.
She stepped past Joreck’s blades, resting her soft hands on his bare, straining chest. “A race of beings called the Old Ones have marked this world as their own. They sent the Shoggoth metal here as a probe. As a test. But we have mastered it. You and I, Joreck. That is why I’ve done this to you. I needed you to find the power to command the Shoggoth steel on your own. To realize its mighty power as I have that we may control it together.”
She brought her face to his, brushed against his lips. “It is true. Haramond hired me to protect him from you. But then I saw you and your men in action. You are the most powerful warrior in this land, and I am the most powerful witch. Together, we shall protect our world. Light and darkness. The sun and the moon. Together we will vanquish the Old Ones and rule side by side. Forever.”
Joreck tried to push away, but the witch woman ground her body against his cock.
“My… men. You… killed them….” he said, feeling the hatred drain from his body.
She smiled again with full cheeks and teeth, her radiance disarming Joreck of whatever fight he had left in him. “Death is boring. We will raise your men when the time is right. They will fight alongside us against the horrors descending on this realm. They will fight and die again and again. Glory will be had by one and all. This I promise you.”
Joreck let his lust overcome him. He wrapped himself around the woman, kissing her deeply. Slowly, the metal blades melted away. The arm softened, covering both their bodies in liquid metal.
Nirod smashed the final zombie into green goo and retreated back to where his king stood.
Standing motionless in place of the warrior and the witch was a tall metal statue—the very same redheaded dragon-beast from Joreck’s fever dream.
Suddenly, the invisible force holding back the river on both sides vanished. The two colossal waves rushed toward one another.
Nirod scrambled out of the way, reaching the bank and rolling to safety just as the waves met, smashing everything between them. Then, just as quickly, the river settled back into its normal course as if nothing had happened.
The dead warriors, the pulverized zombies, even the statue lay hidden beneath the waves. After a time, Nirod stood and limped away. Saying prayers to all of his gods, he left his king to his chosen fate.
Under the river, inside the monstrous statue, the two lovers, locked in their embrace, dreamed of horrors beyond imagining.
Joreck and the Shoggoth Steel and many other exciting stories are available NOW in Kevin Strange’s newest collection, All The Toxic Waste From My Heart on Amazon Kindle and in paperback here.