Archive for the 'The Chronicles of Shorok' Category

23
Aug
11

the chronicles of shorok, part the fifth

Another part of Shorok’s origin today. We learn a bit more about his history as a young man and get closer to the “horrific violence with stupid punchline” origins of the series. However, this is far and away my favorite stupid punchline. In fact, I came up with it first and wrote the story around it.

Who cares about plot when you have puns? Check the (very long) story out after the jump. We’ll move the chronology forward tomorrow with the first new Shorok story in nearly a year and a half.

Continue reading ‘the chronicles of shorok, part the fifth’

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22
Aug
11

the chronicles of Shorok, part the fourth

For the 2009 Geekspeak Christmas special, I decided I’d write up a special Shorokian treat for the long-suffering listeners. The idea of a Shorok take on The Night Before Christmas got its hooks in me and wouldn’t let go, so I came up with this:


But you came here for textual stimulation, didn’t ya? Here you go, another Shorok story. This one gives some insight as to the great barbarian’s origins. It’s the longest one yet and not particularly funny, but I liked it. Check it after the jump.
Continue reading ‘the chronicles of Shorok, part the fourth’

21
Aug
11

the chronicles of Shorok, part the third

Here we go. The first really long one. We start to see some of Shorok’s humanity here. Also, horrific violence. I feel like this one was probably one of the more complete stories. With a little work, it could probably even make it into a terrible short story anthology. This, chronologically, is the most recent Shorok story despite the fact that it’s not the most recently written. Tomorrow – another long one, plus a side project I was really, really proud of.

No pictures this time – go back and look at the other ones if you want visuals.

The mighty Shorok rarely smiled. No one was sure why. Some believe it was because he had few friends to know him. Many respected him, mind – in the face of such an imposing warrior, they had little other choice. However, few living souls could truly say they had ever been on any basis more personal with the barbarian king than being at the end of his sword.

The reasons for this were ultimately Shorok’s own, however, and none can agree as to why he never betrayed a grin.

One thing that is clear to those who study the Age of Shorok, however, is that he had a soft spot for children.

So it is no surprise then, that while Shorok was passing through the bazaar city of Dusking and was stopped by a young urchin in tattered and charred clothes, the warrior-king turned his attention to her.

“…Excuse me, king Shorok?” the girl asked. “Might you have coin for some bread, ser?”

Shorok nodded and reached into his traveling belt, purchased a plate of bread and cheese from one of the nearby vendors, and waited as the girl devoured it. When she had finished, Shorok extended a massive hand to offer her a drink of water from his flask.

“What of your parents, girl?” the great man spoke, his voice commanding despite (or because of) the lack of use.

The girl finished a long, messy drink, wiped her mouth and looked up at the traveler with eyes that had seen too much for one so young. “They died, ser, when the dragon attacked.”

“Dragon?”

She sighed as she recounted the memory. “Blazewyr the Fierce, the dragon-lord of Dusking. He ate our family’s cattle and set the fields and our home alight. When my father took blade against him, the dragon…he…”

Shorok knew what had happened without the girl’s saying. “And your mother?”

The girl stared at the ground. “She begged me not to look and told me to run, ser. All I could hear were her screams. I…I miss them.” At this, the girl touched the pendant around her neck. “This is all I have to remember my mother by. She had one too, ser, but the dragon must have taken it. You put them together, and music plays…” She trailed off.

“So you have taken to the streets, girl?” She nodded. Shorok closed his eyes. “Where might this dragon live?”

***

Following the instructions the girl gave him, Shorok made his way up a craggy mountain path to Blazewyr’s rook. The heat and flickering light of fire played against the walls of the cave in which the dragon lived, illuminating the human and animal skeletons that littered its entrance. The barbarian felt the heat more intensely the deeper he entered the cavern. Whether through arrogance on the dragon’s part or Shorok’s own luck, no traps or ambushes awaited him as he entered Blazewyr’s self-appointed throne room.

“Dragon, I wish to speak with you.”

Blazewyr, reclined on a mountainous pile of gold, looked up from a crystal globe of which he was clearly not the original owner. “AND WHO MIGHT YOU BE?”

“Shorok.”

“THE BARBARIAN? A LONG WAY FOR A FATHERLESS LACKWIT TO TRAVEL.”

Shorok bristled. He hated dragons; dragons who also happened to be insufferable bastards doubly so.

“There is a young girl in the village below. You burned her family’s home and fields to the ground and killed her parents.”

“A TRIFLE. THEY WERE OBSCURING MY VIEW OF THE PLAINS.”

“My patience and my time are short, dragon. I seek to retrieve a pendant the girl’s mother held.”

“THIS?” Blazewyr gestured towards his massive, scaly front caw. The pendant was barely stretched over one of his talons. “I RATHER LIKE IT WHERE IT IS.”

Shorok drew his sword. “We may leave it there, then.” In a flash, Shorok ran towards the dragon, dodging bolts of flame belched from the hedonistic beast’s gullet. Blazewyr swung at the rapidly charging barbarian with one of his massive claws, but Shorok took the opportunity to leap atop its massive forearm, leapt to its shoulder, and stabbed his blade deep into the side of the dragon’s jaw.

The beast screamed, but Shorok swung himself to the top of the mighty blade and, using it as a shaky perch, slipped on a set of spiked knuckles and punched Blazewyr through the eye. Ignoring the flames now lapping at his feet, Shorok reached in further, found the nearest part of the dragon’s skull, and went about his grim work.

The girl attached her mother’s pendant to hers and listened to the beautiful, tinkling melody once more. She was afraid she might wear out the mechanism but could not stop. The music sounded wistful in the cavernous new home the barbarian king had built for her, accentuated by the opulent surroundings the dragon’s accursed gold had purchased.

He had left days ago, saying little to her but nodding when she thanked him. The townspeople all promised to help look after her, perhaps knowing that if anything happened to the little girl the man who ripped a dragon’s skeleton out through its eye socket and built a house with it would come back rather upset.

And those who saw Shorok as he left town swore they saw something they had never seen before, and were not even certain they had just seen.

The wanderer from the west, the mighty barbarian king, the slayer of dragons…was smiling.

 

20
Aug
11

the chronicles of Shorok, part the second

Our last Shorok adventure showed…well, you can just scroll down and read it. I’m not going to recap it. This one sort of follows the same thought process – horrific violence, sort of dumb punchline – but it’s a reference to Calvin Coolidge and the kids always love those, right?

Right?

Oh, and around the time this came out I was heavy into Soul Calibur IV and its relatively robust create-a-fighter mode. I made Shorok, naturally. The results of that are below:

For all his exploits and amazing feats, the mighty Shorok was not generous with words. He seldom spoke unless absolutely necessary, and had actually defeated the thousands-deep frost giant army of the northern vale without so much as a cough. Whether this silence was a tactical decision on the part of the great warrior or simply an indifferent omission is a matter of great debate among historians, but one thing was certain: he was a quiet man.

And so it came to pass one evening while partaking in his usual ritual of mead and barmaidens (generally, both at the same time) at a tavern in the town of Bucklehurst, Shorok was accosted by a face unknown to him but familiar to the people of the area – the oily, smarmy visage of Jib Dinkins.

Dinkins, arguably the greatest swindler and thief in the Southern Hills, had made a habit of making the impossible a reality, or at least convincing the easily tricked that he had. He claimed to have stolen the Sapphire Eye of Saramesh directly from the king’s crown as it sat upon his head, and once boasted he talked Ursula Laviscia, the most famed and expensive wench in all the lands, into doing some pro bono work. Of course, anyone that could verify his exploits was always conveniently out sick when one went to ask. Jib Dinkins was good at that.

And so, this night, the thief tapped Shorok on his massive shoulder and offered a proposition.

“You are the mighty Shorok, tamer of the Great Serpents of Gilgamar, right?”

Shorok said nothing, but grunted in a manner that suggested Jib was on the right track.

“My friend and I…we have a bet, you see.” He licked his chapped lips with a pale tongue. “The stories and legends we hear about you…well, they say you don’t like to talk much.”

Shorok drank another stein of mead and motioned for a particularly buxom young serving girl to refill it. She did.

“And well…I’m a bit of a gambler. I like to make the impossible happen. Did you know I once stole the Sapphire Eye of Saramesh right from the king’s head while he was bolt awake?”

Shorok said nothing, and thought about the very same Sapphire Eye of Saramesh that sat in his traveling pouch and had been a gift from the king for defeating an invading army of skeletons and rescuing his beloved cat Whiskers from a tree.

“Anyway, I’m not hear to talk about me. Let’s talk about you.” Jib grinned, his lips pulling back to reveal yellowed teeth. “This bet that my friend and I have…he bets me I can’t get you to say three words to me. I bet I can.”

Shorok paused, then slowly craned his sinewy, trunk-like neck to look at this interloper for the first time. He then began to speak.

“You lose,” he said.

Shorok then promptly separated the thief’s head from the rest of his body with a nearby butter knife and returned to his drink.

19
Aug
11

the chronicles of Shorok, part the first

Original art by Robbi Rodriguez

So…a little more than three years ago, we did an episode of Geekspeak during our terrestrial radio days. This one, to be specific. I don’t remember the details. I just know that Jake pronounced the name of a PR representative in a story he was reading as “Shor-rock”. It turns out that this was a real guy. It didn’t matter. I started babbling about “Shorok, king of the West” and then it became this whole thing about Shorok the Barbarian, king of all barbarians. The riffs continued throughout the show, but unlike most gags on Geekspeak, it didn’t just peter out due to lack of interest. Quite the opposite.

I started writing up stories that chronicled the adventures of Shorok the Barbarian. There was fan art, an example of which from Geekspeak’s Artist Laureate Robbi Rodriguez is to the left (though I’m not sure it counts as fanart if you ask him to draw it). An elaborate backstory developed.  There was a Twitter account. The stories, at first incredibly violent journeys to kind of stupid punchlines, became much longer and more involved. Things kind of got out of hand. I haven’t written a Shorok story since March of 2010.

But then this movie decided it had to come out. And I figured it was time to show them how we do it. So here’s the deal: starting today, I will reprint each of the original five Shorok the Barbarian stories I wrote on the Geekspeak message boards and Facebook, culminating in a brand new one on the sixth day (next Wednesday).  I’ll post some thoughts on each one, as well. You might not have read these, you might be rolling your eyes at the recycling of this content, but the important thing is that you did not pay for it. This is free entertainment and you will take it and like it.

The first story came at the height of my obsession with the Shorok concept. I wanted to get across the fact that he was basically an unstoppable murder machine while also poking fun at the idea of the monologuing villain. It’s also the shortest Shorok story, but in an odd way the purest. Enjoy:

Many seasons ago, when the snow had cleared from the Whispering Paths once more and Shorok could continue to wander, he came across a withered old man in the middle of his path. Shorok, who fought many

a dark wizard during his travels and was well aware of the threat that old men can present, cautiously gripped the hilt of his blade.

“Stop!” wheezed the mysterious elder. “I know of you. You are the Mighty Shorok, the wanderer from the West, master of the barbarian tribes, slayer of all manner of beast and man, and undisputed mead quaffing champion in no less than two different kingdoms.”

Shorok, unimpressed that this decrepit fool had heard of his exploits, began to move, but felt his feet become as lead and his muscles begin to tighten.

“Azalak will be most pleased that you have entered his domain, and would wish me to kill you with great expediency. As his lieutenant, it would be my duty to carry out his whim.” Fire glowed in the old man’s eyes as his wrinkled features gave way to a cold veneer of inscrutable ice in the shape of a beast’s skull. “Unlike Azalak, however, I have a more sporting nature,” he said as he grew in size to dwarf even Shorok’s frame. The wizard – for Shorok was certain now that was what he was – extended both of his hands, clenched into fists.

“In my hands, mortal, I hold two objects. The first is a mere copper coin, a pittance to even the poorest of the land. To you, however, its value is immeasurable, for it will guarantee you your life.”

Shorok could feel the wizard’s glee as he explained the childish game, though his bone-like visage betrayed no emotion.

“In the other, one of the rarest and sweetest plums of the valley, a delight many would kill for, and your last meal should you choose it.” The wizard shifted, his blackened robes blown about by the spring winds.

“So, barbarian, which will it be? This life…or the afterlife?”

Later, as he was adjusting the new skull at his belt, Shorok would wonder how a wizard who forgot the importance of concentration when using spells of binding made his way to the upper ranks of Azalak’s army, and how anyone thought valley plums were even worth the effort it took to find them.




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