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Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Action/Adventure · #2138933
A high fantasy adventure in 7 pages
The Golem Knights
A High Fantasy Adventure
By David Daniel Ducker

A grey winter sky looms over mountains of black stone. Snow clings to lofty peaks and lingers in dark crevasses. A vast black doorway is carved into the mountainside covered in blocky runes. The double doors swing slowly outward revealing a broken battered man. His long black hair is greasy, his face plastered with dry blood from a smashed face. Eyes, nose, and lips have been left as pulpy ruins and he squints into the bright sunlight. His clothes are mere rags, exposing bruises across his chest and legs, his feet are bare.

He is held aloft by two stout men clad in maille armour wearing shining helmets from which long braided beards protrude. They drag him to the threshold and hurl him down carved steps into the snow. He lands hard on his side and glares up at them from his cold seat. The men turn their backs on him and stride back into the mountain. The stone doors slowly grinding closed behind him. He is alone on the mountainside.

Pushing himself to his feet he staggers away from the door arms clutching battered ribs for warmth. The stone steps carved from the black slopes of the mountains stretch forward into the distance, eventually obscured by a bend far below. The look on his face is one of grim determination, and also of spiteful hatred. He treks into the cold mountain air with determination, striding with purpose as if towards some far distant goal of shelter.


'An attack ser Hartmut! The orcs are at our walls!' The cry was accompanied by a sliver of light entering the darkened room, and then followed by a loud crash as the door was slammed

A figure fumbles out of bed in the darkness and reels across the cold stone floor to remove the fireplace cover, shedding dim illumination from the still burning embers. He is a man of middle years, stockily built, small scares evident across his bare chest, a long red beard hangs from his face in an intricate braid and his long hair is pulled back in a ponytail running down his back. The man moves to a chest at the foot of the bed and pulls a tunic on over his hose, then a heavy leather belt over that, and finally a pair of tall boots. He takes a deep breath while still in the twilight of his chambers and then plunges out of the heavy wooden door and into the bright bustle and noise of the hallway.

The hall is wide and tall, carved of stone and decorated with enormous bas reliefs and statuary, all of the finest workmanship. Torches are much in evidence and the illumination is quite bright. All around men are rushing to the defence of the hold, short stocky men with long beards and simple dress. Those in tunics are rushing to the heart of the city, those in maille to the walls. Hartmut makes for the walls.

Pushing past servants and labourers he joins the flow of warriors, maille clad, with stout helms and broad axes. The hallway seems to darken ahead, and a cold breeze blows through it flickering the torches.

'The gate is open' Hartmut growls to himself

He turns down a corridor into a hall of iron giants. Twenty enormous suits of armour dominate this hall, ten lined up along each wall, each standing twice the height of a man, and each gripping a massive weapon, mostly axes but with a few swords and hammers in evidence. The breastplate of each titan statue gapes open, folded outward on cunning hinges. Hartmut runs down the row to a giant kneeling with a huge axe in it's hand and reaches up into it's chest. He then pulls himself up inside of it with his strong arms and turns around. Sliding his arms and legs into their proper positions he speaks a few whispered words with reverence and the armour comes alive!

He straightens his back and it mimics him. Reaching out his arm it does likewise. He uses the golem's arms to close the breastplate over his own face completely encasing himself in the armour. A cunning grille built into the breastplate allows him to see and breathe as he directs the titan war machine.

All around him in the hall of armour other knights are arriving and likewise activating their armour. Soon he is joined by nineteen other steel giants, weapons in hand.

'Knights of Mu! To the walls!' Hartmut cries seeing the last of his companions don their armour.

Like a river of steel the twenty giant warriors hustle into the main hall and charge forward towards the open gate.

The gate is massive. Easily able to fit two of the golems abreast, and outside is a rocky valley beneath a sea of stars. Carved through the heart of the valley is a huge road, arrow-straight and just as broad as the gate itself, in places supported by massive arches of stone it stretches away into the darkness. And from that darkness come sounds of battle, the clangour of steel on steel, the screams of the dying, the battle cries of those about to hazard their deaths.

'It's a massive raid. Ten flocks at least have been taken and just as many farms destroyed.' A sergeant runs forward with word for Hartmut and his men

'Six with me for the road! Seven on each valley wall!' Hartmut commands pointing directions to make himself clear

He hustles forward down the smooth roadway and into the darkness. Then speaking another set of incantations Hartmut causes a pale blue glow to emanate from his Golem's eyes. A magical lantern!

'The golem knights are here! The knights!' A cry from the darkness ahead as Hartmut's light shines forward

'Fall back men! The knights are here!' With that a stream of maille clad figures comes into view retreating from down the darkened road

'Let them pass between us! And watch for Lemurians!' Hartmut shouts over his shoulder as he steps aside, letting the weary soldiers pass down the centre of the great road back towards the hold

'Lemurians!' the knight next to Hartmut cries out pointing forward with his huge sword

From the darkness comes a charge of twisted metal and scarred flesh, the Lemurians' armour was all a piecemeal of gnarled black iron scales and scavenged maille from the men of Mu, their helms bore horns and spikes with evilly grinning and wailing face-masks, their weapons were jagged and serrated, mostly scimitars but with axes and spiked morning-star much in evidence as well. They came on with berserker fury smiting down the infantry and hurling themselves at the golem knights with reckless abandon, desperate to find any chink in the magical armour suits

The golem knights waded into them as a man would wade into the sea. Stomping, kicking, smashing, and crushing. Using weapons when practical but just as often relying on the sheer brute power of their giant vehicles.

'Cavalry!' A tremendous squeaky hiss accompanied the cry and Hartmut looked over to find that the knight to his left was being lifted into the air his golem buffeted by two pairs of tremendous fleshy wings from above

Hartmut swung his axe up towards the frantic flapping of the giant bats but fell just short, his companion was carried off over the side of the road and dropped screaming onto the mountainside. As his golem rolled down the steep side of the valley it's torch illuminated a sea of hairy crawling legs. Giant spiders!

The sea of furry brown arachnids began to ooze up over the edge of the road and Hartmut found himself smashing them back down as quickly as he could but despite his uncanny speed they were gaining the road. Each spider had mounted on it's back a Lemuria with a cunningly wrought composite bow, held fast their by a complicated leather saddle, much like the one used by the bat riders above.

The iron titans fell in shoulder to shoulder holding the road. Slashing, stabbing, and kicking back the Lemurian hordes on the ground and always wary of the bat riders wheeling overhead. The line was holding, the enemy casualties mounting up catastrophically, despite taking a few loses themselves it seemed inevitable that the golem knights would be triumphant.

And then out of the darkness sprang a black iron giant covered in spikes and wielding a huge morning-star. A Lemurian golem! The spiked ball came crashing down on one of the defenders caving in his breastplate with a monstrous impact. The line broke and spiders swarmed onto the road and over the remaining knights.

'Fall back!' Hartmut bellowed as he swung his axe side-to-side cleaving through the chittering arachnid horde and leaving a trail of gore behind him as he backed slowly towards the gate

The knights were pushed back, and Hartmut found himself surrounded, the enemy golem leapt at him with a high blow but he parried just in the nick of time. The two titans stood locked in combat, powerful blows cutting long scratches in each others' armour. The Lemurian golem was covered in long spikes and Hartmut used these to his advantage his free hand pulling the savage invader off balance. Finally the two found themselves locked in a grapple, weapons dropped clattering to the cold stone below. Hartmut groaned and strained, could feel the metal of his armour shivering with the fury of their grim embrace. But he managed to hook the leg of his foe and sent him flying to the ground with a shoulder throw, then with a powerful leap he sent his armoured knee smashing down on the enemy cockpit caving in the golem's breastplate and squashing the Lemurian inside.

The horde broke at this sight and went fleeing back out of the pass in complete disarray. The defenders rallied a charge and pursued to cut down as many of the creatures as possible. Hartmut stood gasping, body shaking with exertion, looking down on the ruined corpse of his foe. His eyes held worry and confusion.

'A Lemurian golem?' his voice was whispered inside the cockpit of his armour, filled with trepidation for what this might mean for the future of Mu


Deep in the mountains far from any road a line of golems marches forward. Clinging to sheer cliffs and sliding along narrow ledges their path is treacherous but their iron forms immune to fatigue, possessed of unlimited stamina they trek onward

'I think we're on the right trail this time' Beneath his breastplate the knight had a bushy blonde beard and watery blue eyes, younger than most of the others he was nevertheless carefully and cautious in his movements

'You think so Luca?' Hartmut asked doubtfully green eyes gleaming in the shade of his cockpit

'Well we've got to find him eventually. How many Lemurian enclaves can there be around here? I mean how far can he have gotten?' Luca was trying to sound optimistic

'We do have to find him eventually yes. If he teaches those dogs how to build their own golems we're all in trouble.' Hartmut growled

'They're too dumb to learn anyhow' Luca said dismissively

'Then he'll build them as many as they need. As many as it takes to destroy Mu' Hartmut said stubbornly

'So far we've only seen the one. Maybe he's dead already. They might have eaten him or something?' Luca rationalized

'They might be that stupid. But he's not. Just look at how small these enclaves have all been, they're depopulated. Where did everyone go? I'll bet he's raising up a horde of them. Drawing in warriors from all around' Hartmut said

'You think they'd follow him?' Luca sounded worried at the thought

'They follow strength. And if he survived to reach them he must be stronger than we'd guessed' Hartmut said

'It might not even be him at all. It could just be some kind of... wizard or savant or something...' Luca said

'A Lemurian? Learn to build golems? Ridiculous. And it's no coincidence that this thing appeared within a year of his exile' Hartmut said

'Well let's just keep our eyes- Get down! Look there on that cliff!' Luca said ducking behind a boulder and pointing to a distant cliff

A black iron golem paced there far across a chasm from the line of knights clearly standing sentry. It was covered in ugly studs like warts corrupting the very metal of it's construction and it gripped a jagged glaive in it's ill-formed hand.

'We've found him.' Hartmut said with satisfaction

'Stay quiet boys. We'll fall back and make camp. Start scouting things out and make a plan of attack' Luca spoke back down the line of knights


The Lemurian enclave was filthy, little more than a cave it was crowded with men and livestock. The smell was oppressive, body odour, excrement, urine and the various unwholesome smells of sheep and goats. The Lemurians crowded about an enormous bonfire drinking stolen mead, munching moldy cheese and roasting meat on sticks, in the centre of the fire a huge black cauldron bubbled with a greasy stew of mushrooms and lichen. The men of Lemuria wore their thin hair long and greasy, patchy beards barely covering their weak chins and thin lips. They wore poorly cured leathers and rough-spun wool garments all dyed black, with a few select champions bearing fleeces, lion-skins or cloaks of eagle feathers. Violence and fornication were mingled with their gluttony and drunkenness, the Lemurians thought little of privacy and in odd corners grim death struggles or coerced gropings went largely unnoticed by the throng

Through the dirty men moved a stocky figure, black bearded and garbed in a blood red tunic. Brooding over the scene of barbarism the armiger of Mu scowled at the savages and they receded before his gaze as if from a spell of doom.

He took up a bowl made from a human skull and ladled himself a bowl of the greasy stew before retreating back into his workshop. A complete golem knelt in the corner but he ignored it instead taking up with one half completed. To outside appearances it was ready, but to his studied eye the armour was clearly bare of animating force. He took up a small chisel and began carving runes into the black pig-iron with painstaking attention to detail.

A horn blew in the distance. The sentry was calling out the men to fight! A raid? Who would dare raid after the show of strength the armiger had put forth against the other tribes? It had been months since any dared challenge him. It could only be one threat; the knights of Mu. Very well then today would be his day of vengeance, or death.

He rushed to the completed armour suit and soon the spike-clad statue was striding back into the main chamber of the Lemurian enclave. It was largely deserted now, save a few stragglers rushing to don their crude armour and take up cruel weapons in defence of their hole.

The armiger took no heed of the Lemurians as he strode forth into the pale dawn. Outside was a scene of chaos. The Lemurians had evidently been taken almost completely unawares and in daylight hours could not well rely on their gruesome mounts. Only a few of the golems lay smashed beneath boulders rolled down from the cliff-side The others were merely swarmed over with Lemurian infantry, stabbing and prying in fevered desperation to expose some weakness of their ancestral foes.

Despite the seeming futility of this assault one of the golems went down beneath their small blades, a poisoned spear tip no doubt had made it's way through the grille concealing the pilot.

'Here he comes!' Hartmut called as the armiger stepped forward into the sunlight

'Here comes your doom!' The armiger bellowed as he rushed across the field of battle towards the nearest golem his long spear set to carry forth the shock of his charge

The iron point was driven home, out-ranging his foes spear and skewering the better-made golem. The armiger immediately abandoned the spear and took up his foe's weapon; a massive hammer. The next-closest knight rushed forward sword gleaming but the armiger knew better than to pit hammer against sword, he hurled the bulky weapon with both hands and it sailed across the plateau to cave in the chest of the golem. Now the armiger took up this foe's weapon. Two deaths closer to his ultimate vengeance!

'Marit!' Hartmut saw his comrades fall before the traitorous armiger and felt his blood boil. He would end this battle himself!

Marit turned at the cry to see the knight commander rushing him. He steeled himself for the shock of impact and soon they were joined in mortal combat. Hartmut's axe was slower than Marit's sword but it's power forced the armiger to caution, one blow could cleave deep enough to find him even buried beneath tons of iron.

'You traitorous dog! How can you stand what you've become?' Hartmut screamed indignantly at the black clad armiger pressing his attack with fury

'What you made me you mean! You are my betrayers not the other way around!' Marit tried to remain calm in the face of these accusations, he needed to keep a clear head to parry the furious incoming blows

'If you place your life so much more highly than your honour then it will give me added pleasure to kill you!' Hartmut growled using his axe-head to hook Marit's shoulder and pull him close

'I place my revenge before all! And that of my wife!' Marit shouted as the two golems reeled against one another in a drunken embrace

'You killed her yourself! If you seek revenge turn your blade inward!' Hartmut was shocked by the armiger's lies

'Liar! I was deceived into doing the deed! Do you think I can go to my death with that on my conscience? Her soul cries out for justice!' Marit pushed free of the deadly embrace of his foe trying to use his sword's reach to buy himself a moment to think

'Justice? You had your chance to explain!' The two foes circled each other warily while the battle raged about them

'A common man fooled by a noble, and judged by another just as wicked as the one i slew. The only justice to be had in this world is the justice of steel!' Now it was Marit's turn to press the attack trying to see how fast Hartmut's heavy axe could parry the lightning quick stabs of his sword

'Then let steel be the judge!' Hartmut cried as he swung his axe down to cleave Marit's breastplate, ignoring the small glances from the other man's blade

But Marit dodged nimbly aside and the axe clove deep into the stone floor of the plateau, it was stuck! Marit smashed Hartmut's helm with a spiked knee tearing open the head of his golem and knocking him prostrate. Hartmut gazed up at the black colossus standing over him sword raised for a lethal stab his own phrase running through his head 'the justice of steel'

'No!' Luca threw himself into Marit knocking the armiger off balance

Hartmut scrambled to his feet and looked back in time to see Luca impaled on the point of Marit's sword

'Luca!' Hartmut wrenched his axe free of the stone and buried it in Marit's back a he tried desperately to free himself from the grip of Luca's golem

The black golem fell forward its back shattered and Hartmut dropped to his knees moved to tears by Luca's sacrifice.

'That's why we'll always beat you. We are willing to lay down our lives for Mu' Hartmut's voice was tinged with sorrow as he looked down on the ruin of his young friend

'Willing to lay down your lives for a lie' Marit crawled from the wreckage of his golem, dragging his shattered legs behind him with powerful arms and hate-born determination

'Every man in Mu is an equal! Not like you here! A tyrant lording yourself over these savages!' Hartmut gestured to the fleeing Lemurians and their squalid cave beyond

'These savages took me in when you left me to die in the snow. They've shown me more love than Mu ever did. Working me to death while my wife was raped by my own master! And leaving his own brother to judge me! Is that what you call justice!? Equality?! I spit on your hypocrisy! I spit on you! And I'll go now to my wife with a clean conscience. I gave my all to avenge her... Poor love...' Marit's indignation was red hot even a his eyes began to glaze over, Hartmut found it telling though that the man's last thoughts were of his dead wife...

Marit slumped forward onto the cold black stone of the plateau leaving Hartmut standing over the two corpses listening the the sounds of the Lemurian retreat. Victory had never tasted so bitter.

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