Chapter 18

Today was a day of vengeance.

Cluny and his horde marched boldly up to Sovlergash. He held the Glist point up, signaling the horde to halt.

“Wait here.”

“Uh, come agin, Chief?”

Cluny stared Ragear boldly in the eyes. “I don’t need an entire horde to solve my own problems. Now stay here!” And without another word, grabbed the spear of the nearest rat and sunk it into the wooden gates, and the Glist above it, using it as ice-climbing utensils.

As he reached the ramparts, he heard the sound of steady snoring. Using the spear as leverage, he struck upward, impaling Ajihad through the nostrils. He made no effort to stop the body from falling to the ground below-he wanted them to know he was back.

He smiled with anticipation as he heard somebeast yell the alarm and the resulting confusion and clatter of weapons.

He leaped on to the ramparts and roared his challenge: “Zorkaan! I have returned!”

He threw the spear down, slaying Crossclaw with a hole in his shoulder. He then bolted down the ladder, slashing a wildcat from shoulder to hip. He then used the Glist as a throwing knife, its axeblade burying itself in the skull of a ferret.

The Glist feasted itself on blood and flesh and fur, its spearpoint temporarily useless for such large numbers. The cutlass of a boar was grasped in his tail, slaying the cowards who dared to stab him in the back.

He barely noticed when all who opposed him lay dead in an enormous pile, with him as the mountain peak.

A slow, sarcastic clap filled the air, and Cluny knew who it was before he saw him: Zorkaan.

The Boar Taggerung emerged from his palace, crossbow in paw. “You are a fool as you always were, Whiptail. You seek to destroy me, when it is your pride that forced me to slay your sister.”

“I acknowledge my role in Glae’s death. Everybeast will pay for her. Tekker, you-and me. But that will come later. And you will not see the end of this day! I WILL HAVE MY REVENGE!”

Cluny charged, and Zorkaan fired. He thoughtlessly deflected it, and Cluny the Scourge brought the Glist down through the crossbow of Zorkaan the Unstoppable.

Zorkaan drew out his battleaxes and struck, but Cluny deflected. They went back and forth in a mad dance of death. Cluny battered relentlessly, forcing Zorkaan up to the ramparts.

Zorkaan showed obvious signs of fatigue. As Cluny kept up his assault, the Boar Taggerung gradually lowered to his knees.

Sweat and tears beamed down from Cluny’s brow with such force that, with a mighty, final strike, the Glist smashed Zorkaan’s axes like glass.

Zorkaan made to run, but Cluny spun the Glist in a wide arc slicing off all four of the Taggerungs’s paws. The momentum of his failed escape sent him over the edge down to the ground.

Cluny opened the gates, and rats swarmed in, taking what they wished from the slain. Zorkaan had been bound, his wounds heavily bandaged for his public execution.

Cluny the Scourge stared down impassively at his sworn enemy until his entire horde gathered around. He gestured distractedly to Cheesethief and barked, “Lantern oil. Now!”

Cheesethief did as he was bidden, handing a beaker to Cluny. The Scourge smiled cruelly.

“Torch, please.”

For the first time in his life, the Taggerung felt fear. An involuntary groan escaped him as Redtooth handed a still-lit torch. And at that single moment, he was not Cluny the Scourge.

He was Whiptail Badgerslayer.

Whiptail grabbed Zorkaan by the snout and yanked his mouth open and poured the lantern oil. It splattered on his paw as Zorkaan coughed and screamed. Whiptail held the torch for a stabbing motion as he roared, “For my sister!”

And then he forced the torch down Zorkaan’s throat. His screaming and wailing were of an unearthly tone as the fire inside him caused his eyes to explode and hot blood poured out his ears. He flailed about like a madbeast until the flames seeped through his skin and enveloped his entire being.

Whiptail had one thing to do before leaving. He stared at a ruffled mound of sand on the northern beach. The waves crashing against his footpaws did little to distract him.

He planted the spearpoint deep in a grave. “This is my penance, Glae; I have kept my promised. Everybeast did: Tekker, Zorkaan… and me.” And Cluny the Scourge walked away purposely, never to be seen in Sovlergash again.

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