Another EoC Fanfic.
Sage of the Golem Fist
For nearly half a millennia, the Way of the Golem Fist has been practiced within Vallenheim and Dalwyn. A way of life as much as a fighting style; the greatest of practitioners have been known to strike down fully armored knights with nothing but bare fist. The origins of this martial art are the cause of many a debate, what follows is but one such tale. It is a tale of a priest, forsaken by his King in favor of wealth. A man, made golem.
He watched the light flee from sight; replaced by a darkness not meant for the eyes of man. The cave that would be his grave… it was quite large, for a coffin. The stench of guano and decay permeated, overpowering his dwindling senses. The man collapsed in despair. To be sentenced to death for mercy, what great tragedy the Nameless One had written.
As he lay there, lost in his own misery, he felt the calm tickle of life upon his cheek. He reached out, and met the plants handshake in kind. It was purple he thought, of the plant. He could not have known of course, light did not dwell in this abyss. But still, what lay before him did so with such hue. The curious plant danced, wiggling through his fingertips.
Days had passed, alone in his cell. No, not alone he would say. He sat, watching his friends dance to and fro. With each day, their dance grew wilder. He could hear them now. They did not speak, that would be mad. But still, what lay before him did so with such tone. They asked in unity, for him to obey. Not command, but plea, for the man would have to eat. And so with great reluctance, the man consumed his friends.
One a day, he had vowed. He would only sacrifice one of the friends a day. They begged for more, but he refused. He paced, the martyrdom of these friends mustn’t be for naught. The Nameless One would never forgive it. The man could never forgive it. He paced, but what could he do? He was but a man, and a man of letters at that. In his path laid a child of mountain. A mass so large it had taken six men and half mule to seal him. What was he before the might of earth?
He approached the boulder, gently grazing its coarse surface with palm. He felt weak; the weakness that only man can comprehend. He envied the plant, in its ignorance. He envied the boulder, in its strength. Pity became shame, and shame fear, and so fear bred to anger. As he struck the stone, with all the might he could summon, a cutting pain shot through his fist. He knelt in agony, tears and blood mixing. He looked to his friends, now fewer in number, and the pain subsided. With newfound purpose, he wiped away his failure.
It was torment, at first. Weeks of blood, sweat, and guilt. With each passing day, the choir grew quieter. With each passing day, he grew stronger. Within months, he could strike at the barrier without flinch. He awoke, he performed the ritual of murder on his friend, he fought the boulder, and he slept. He could not rest, he could not break. To do so would fail them, would be a mockery of what they have given him. And so he pressed on, his fists screaming for pause. The walls of his coffin echoing the flat packing percussion, an ode to all those he had lost, and those who he would lose.
He sat, reluctant to eat. Three years had passed since he came to this prison, and this was his last friend, dancing even now. He cried, reluctant to eat. He knew not that the plant did not dance. The plant did not shine purple. The plant did not sing. He knew now that the plant did all of these things. He gripped his friend, and made the final sacrifice.
The man sat there, in silence. Such deafening silence. He rose, and stood before nemesis. The man bowed to the stone, a final respect to a most worthy adversary. His hand did not complain, as it formed a fist. His muscles did not moan, as he took his stance. His mind did not waver, as he threw the punch.
And so, the stone bowed.