*Wordcount: 1064 words.
A continuation of this, because I liked Krang.
Krang returned home in the late evening and threw himself heavily into his single-seater couch (which was carved from somewhat comfortable stone). He ruminated on the events of the day and the realisation he had had: he no longer cared for fighting.
He shuddered mightily at the thought. It wasn’t right, it just wasn’t right. Nor fair, it wasn’t that either.
All he’d ever wanted to be, back when he was a barbarian tyke, was a mighty barbarian warrior, not a bored barbarian who’d lost sight of his very purpose.
Krang sighed and rubbed his temples.
He knew what he had to do. He may have lost the passion for the fight, but he was still a barbarian damn it, and he would honour the true ways!
… In the morning.
Krang stood in the town square, expounding his ideas and questions loudly at all passing barbarians. What if they didn’t have to fight? I mean, wouldn’t it be okay to, you know, not fight every now and then?
These radical ideas were met with a touch more scorn than Krang thought necessary, but it wasn’t unexpected.
A few hours and two medium-sized brawls later, Krang retired to the barbarian tavern. His departure from the town square and arrival in the tavern were both met with jeers, which affected Krang not at all.
He was still a barbarian, at the end of the day, and words couldn’t hurt a barbarian.
He sat at the counter of the tavern, a thick black liquid swishing around in the skull-mug that was dwarfed by the hand around it. He took a deep drink, and thudded it back down heavily.
This went on for a while, stopping for the requisite refills.
The stone-carved stool beside him cracked slightly as a large, grey-haired barbarian took a seat beside Krang.
Oh boy, Krang thought.
The barbarian beside him downed a drink and turned to face him while it was being refilled.
“Son.” Krong said.
“Dad.” Krang replied.
They sat in silence for another few drinks, until Krang’s father turned to face him and placed a battle-worn hand over his own.
“The whole town’s been talking about it. Is it true? Are you truly going craven?”
“Dad, I am not craven,” Krang said with meaning, “I…”
Krang sighed, something he’d noticed himself doing a lot lately.
Krong’s eyes suddenly seemed filled with concern. “Something’s bothering you. Want to fight about it?”
“No, dad, that’s just it. I don’t want to fight anymore.”
The bar fell quiet.
Krong stared at his son, unable to stop his jaw from dropping.
Outside, the warm afternoon ticked by slowly, certainly preparing to give in to night.
Krang sat alone on the dusty ground, staring at the wispy clouds passing by overhead.
They were soon replaced by his father’s scarred, scowling face.
“Come!” Krong grumbled, and turned away.
Krang reluctantly stood, and followed his father.
“Where are w-”
“We’re going to fight about it.”
Krang protested, but he knew this was set. Not that big a deal, he supposed. He didn’t feel the drive to fight, but that didn’t mean that he wasn’t good at it.
The faced each other in the sparring ring, one of many which dotted this side of town. Crude stone seating was arrayed around the numerous rings, catering to audiences and those waiting for their turn.
Krang and Krong had no audience.
Their weapons were drawn as they stood facing each other down.
Before they begin, it’s important to understand how barbarian’s spar. You see, they utilise no ‘training’ or ‘sparring’ weapons, instead opting to use their trusted weapon of choice.
This often meant their personal weapon. In Krang’s case, this was his worn-but-sharp hand-axe. For Krong, it was a massive two-handed great sword.
Barbarian great swords, it should be noted, have been known to be as tall as humans from more pitiful tribes (i.e., not barbarian).
These methods of sparring usually result in legitimate injuries, and, very rarely, death. Killing your foe in sparring is not considered honourable for a myriad of reasons, but it boils down to this: focus on killing the things you don’t live with.
Krang and Krong, probably bored of exposition, charged.
Steel rang against steel, feet kicked up dust, what little sunlight there was glinted off their blades.
They grunted and growled as they met and broke apart, again and again and again. Krang found himself needing to dodge more than he liked, the sheer force behind his father’s blows making deflecting or parrying them difficult.
He still parried the odd blow, don’t get me wrong. Barbarian’s solve everything through might rather than agility or wit if at all possible (most of the time, they make it possible).
Krang felt a few of his father’s glancing blows hit home, leaving scratches and shaving off skin. To his own credit, he was inflicting damage right back, blow for blow.
They fought for hours, and sunlight gave way to moonlight.
Still they fought.
Through it all, Krang was thinking.
At first he was thinking about fighting, specifically why he didn’t want to anymore. As time went by and the sparring continued, he started thinking about more.
Thinking, and questioning.
Why, exactly, did they make their houses and furniture, and a great deal more, out of stone? Why, exactly, did they wear only the barest of clothing, often loincloths?
Why, oh why, did they have to devote themselves to fighting, of all things?
Krang knew these weren’t the thoughts of a barbarian, and started wondering if he could blame his parents in any way.
Of course, his childhood had been typical, and he knew it. Sparring, hunting, peasant-punching. His parents had raised him right.
Then why was he thinking what he would’ve, a few years ago, dismissed as unimportant nonsense?
Krang sighed, inwardly.
When the sparring ended, called by Krong, they were both bleeding and out-of-breath.
His father clasped his shoulder and grinned at him.
“You fought well, son. Feel better?”
Krang wanted to lie, but he couldn’t. He was too far gone to pretend he loved fighting again.
His father scowled at him. “Hmph. You should worry about what’s important, Krang. Go slaughter a village, that always sets me straight.”
They departed, and Krang returned home.
For the first time in his life, he felt discomfort while lying on his carved stone bed.