The Culling 4

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I woke up in the dark. It was soft and I had never been so comfortable in my life. I snuggled down into warmth savoring the comfort. Then I smelled the delicious smell of roasting meat.

I sat up. I was in a small dark tent. Some kind of springy mat was under me and Jedrek's cloak had been thrown over me. I crawled out of the tent into the daylight.

Jedrek was outside, unfortunately fully dressed, but the incredible bulging of his muscles still happily apparent under his clothing. Even after all I had seen, the shock of seeing a man so thick and massive almost stunned me again as I saw him walking around the fire.

The ground was all filled in as if two trees had never stood in the middle of the clearing. Our clearing was bare of snow but that was the only sign of how the ground had been disturbed. I noticed a circle and several signs had been drawn in the ground around the tent. Near the circle was a small silver bowl with a few inches of water in it.

Jedrek stood before the fire turning a spit with several large pieces of meat on it. It smelled heavenly.

Jedrek looked at me and smiled, "Good day, sir! I'm glad you're up. That trip was rougher on you than I thought."

I blinked in the light and gaped at the meat. "What's that?" I asked like the ill mannered peasant I was.

"A bear fooled out of hibernation by the false thaw. He found me while I was working on the camp and decided to attack." He paused and I looked at sinews bunching and unbunching under the skin of his massive hands, hands that were capable of killing a bear with no weapons. "There is a lot of meat. I salted a bunch of it and hung it up some distance away. If we stay here long enough we'll have some decent provisions."

I was overcome again by his strength but also wondered why I was here.

He looked up seriously at me, "Gregor, we have serious work to do." He glanced into the distance, "The soldiers are almost here but we still have a little time. In your village, there is a witch. I felt her webs spun all over the place."

"You mean Agnieska, the wise woman?" I asked, my mind struggling to keep up with his rapid shift of subjects.

He rubbed his hands together with something like anticipation, "Ahhhh Agnieska, good. I have one her names. I would lay a wager that she frequently employs young girls and looks at you as if you were bear droppings she stepped in."

"Betha works for her now and before there was a girl we called Twig, who ran away with Matthias several years ago.

"Agnieska always looked at me as if I was something vile. But I think she liked me better than it seemed, because she took me in for special treatment and I was spared at the culling." Jedrek seemed to hate her and she had saved my life.

He seemed to read my mind, "There is much you don't know, Gregor, about the nature of this Agnieska and many "wise women". That witch's magic is all over you and that magic did keep the pollen away during the culling. But she has no love for you Gregor. Rather she sees in you a path to power that her kind is usually denied."

"I....I have no gift no power." I stammered.

Jedrek walked over to me and looked me directly in the eyes. I noticed his eyes were green with flecks of gray in them. "Gregor, I am like you. I do not lust for the company of women. I am drawn to men. Some call it an obscenity, a perversion, an inversion. However this perversion is my strength, my power. Men like us are gifted. That is part of why other people fear us. You have a lot of potential. I know that witch saw that and wanted to use it."

"LIke with Eoghan." I whispered the name. I had secretly dreamed that I would get that power, "But I'm not strong like you or him. In my village, I was one of the strongest boys but not strong like you."

"Aaaaaargh! They teach you nothing," he spat and moved quickly and pulled the meat from the fire. He blew gently on the roasted meat and then slid the slightly cool hunk into my hands. I was ravenous and devoured the delicious roast in minutes.

"We don't have much time, Gregor. However let me explain, men and women draw power in very different ways. Women work through the slow passive power of the earth. They often can redirect natural energies healing and withering that sort of thing. Their magic depends on a sexual purity for its greatest strength. A woman taken by a man loses much of her magical power. That's why so many witches hate men."

"Men's power often comes from active energies like lightning and fire. Sexual activity only enhances their power. With men like us, Gregor, sexual activity wakens our power and intensifies it. There is much more... " Jedrek spun around quickly alerted to something, "The soldiers are approaching."

'What soldiers would dare chase you?" I asked disbelievingly.

"That is a tale unto itself, Gregor. They are an elite force sent from a neighboring country and they have been tracking me for some time. I need to teach them and their masters a lesson."

Jedrek began to pull off his tunic revealing his colossal physique, "I must be at my most defenseless when facing them."

"You look scarier without your shirt," I mumbled in awe.

"I think that was a compliment. My thanks, Gregor," Jedrek smiled and flexed his arm. The muscle jumped up and expanded to almost four times its already gigantic size with his casual flex. It was at least the size of five large morningstars.

Jedrek carefully peeled off his leather breeches, revealing the massive long muscles of his monstrous legs. I felt awestruck at the canyons of muscle running along the front of those mammoth thighs lightly furred with his dark red hair. Each one was bigger than the girth of a large barrel and connected harmoniously with the rippling muscularity of his hamstrings. His calves stood out from his legs as if someone had halved the great summer melons and pushed them under his skin. He was standing in front of me clad only in his breechcloth; a study in intimidating size and strength. Once again the air steamed off his incredible body creating a halo in the sunshine.

"I want you to stay in the tent Gregor." Jedrek's deep voice was gentle. "If something happens, you will be safe in there. I have drawn protections around it. If you want to watch though, " he paused and I nodded enthusiastically, "here is a bit of magic." He picked up the silver bowl and handed it to me. "When you want to watch, you need to hold this bowl in both your hands and think of me and you will see what I am doing."

"I will return soon and answer more questions," he turned and walked away and I savored the sight of his massive body marching away from me.

I scrambled into the tent and pulled the flap down after me. Nervously I stared into the bowl, thinking of Jedrek. The water clouded for a moment and then cleared, showing a section of the forest from overhead. I could also hear the sounds from the area. A bird was singing and I could hear Jedrek's familiar heavy tread approaching.

10 figures dressed in white moved silently disappearing at times into the snowy background. Jedrek entered the area and several of the figures sprang up in a blur of motion and threw star shaped metal disks at him. Before they could return to their hiding places, Jedrek's hands moved even more quickly, catching the objects and throwing them back. The stars sheared through the men's skulls with loud CRACKS! and kept moving withou losing speed. One cleaved through three of the men and all three sank silently to the ground, staining the snow red from the gaping wounds in their heads. The first ten men were dead within seconds.

More men moved around Jedrek in a silent circle. Two men cast dark wire at the giant pale red haired man while three others threw small swords at him. The wire was metallic and looped around Jedrek's chest and arms. The men started to run around attempting to fasten Jedrek's arms to his sides. But despite the pressure from the wire, Jedrek's arms moved as if nothing was tightening around them. He caught two of the swords and flung them back at the men, ripping through their chest cavities and causing them to fall. The third sword rammed into his side, but left not a mark on his muscular torso. The weapon fell to the ground bent by the impact to Jedrek's invulnerable muscle.

Jedrek sucked in some air expanding his chest and snapping the layers of metallic wire. He exhaled and a small hurricane of air furiously whipped the two wire spinners into the air smashing their lifeless corpses against two of the mighty oaks which swayed dangerously in the instant storm.

A net of heavy rope dropped down from above and several men instantly approached thrusting swords at Jedrek's net covered form and winding the net tighter and tighter to imprison him before he could respond.

Seconds later, the net exploded into small pieces leaving Jedrek standing in an awesome full body flex. Every muscle standing ridged under his pale skin, his back jutting out from side to side, his amazing legs corded with slabs of muscle Just flexing was enough to completely destroy the heavy cables of the net into particles.

The remaining thirty or so men all wearing light or heavy armor rushed in from all sides around Jedrek with all manner of weapons drawn. Bladed weapons ricocheted uselessly against his impervious muscularity blunted and bent. One warrior did manage to cut the breechcloth which fell to the ground exposing Jedrek's massive manhood which though soft was long enough to hang to his knees.

In one smooth motion, Jedrek grabbed three men in each of his gigantic arms. They all resisted but for all their frantic and sometimes skilled motion it made as much difference as tadpole changing the course of a torrent in the rapids of a river. His motion was unchanged by their thrashing as he began to simply contract his huge arms and shoulders. There was a loud cracking noise and every bone in those men's torsos was shattered the men's bodies were visibly crushed. While he was quickly crushing the six men Jedrek gracefully pivoted on one foot and kicked out with his massively muscular leg, through 3 men's chests and decapitating one man with the arc of a single kick.

Jedrek dropped the men, turned to the next soldier, grabbed each of his arms and tore them off his body. The man screamed blood shooting out of the sockets in a torrent and then fell instantly dead. Jedrek rammed the bones of the arms through several men killing them instantly and tossed the lifeless bodies aside with a flick of his wrist. The remaining soldiers were raining desperate blows with everything they had but with no effect on Jedrek at all.

Jedrek ignored their fierce blows and brought his fists together in front of his mighty midsection and flexed his chest, its already humongous size violently expanded by, what looked like several feet of dense, rippling, impregnable muscle, decapitating eight men as it rammed into their heads with his unstoppable power. Their heads snapped clean from the bodies and burst like overripe berries as they smashed into the forest trees.

Finally, the last two warriors he caught in his blood covered arms. Each man's head held between his forearm and biceps. Their hair was black and I could see the terror in their dark eyes. Jedrek began to whisper in a strange sibilant tongue to the men. They looked like they understood what he was saying for their eyes widened as he spoke. I wished I could also understand and suddenly his voice made sense to me.

"With the smallest contraction of my arms my biceps will swell and obliterate your skulls and you will be dead," Jedrek hissed, "It is only through my self control that your heads remain intact. I am strong enough to crush you by accident. Feel the strength you never will have. Remember it and share it with your people. This is what all those who attack the men from Taiga will face. Your weapons are destroyed and your skills are useless. But I have given you life by not flexing my arm." Then he dropped the men. Like Eoghan before him, he made a sign in the air. Each of the men gasped as a shining gold sign drew itself on their foreheads. "This is my mark and all who see it will know you have met someone of power."

Jedrek walked away from the men not looking back. I took in the view of the carnage. Over forty bodies of the soldiers lay in the bloody snow. The trees and plants all covered with bits of bone, pieces of hair and blood everywhere. The two soldiers looked around weeping for their comrades and started back to camp.

The view in the bowl changed following Jedrek as he walked to the bed of a frozen river. He breathed in once again expanding his enormous chest, held the breathe for a moment and then let loose a blast of air that melted that section of the river. Within moments the solid river came back to roaring life. He walked into it, the water sizzling as the heat of his body met river, and let the water wash the blood off of his body.

He walked out gleaming as the water to steamed off leaving his body clean and dry. I could hear the water pop and crackle as it disappeared.

He turned toward the camp and I put the bowl down shaking from what I had witnessed.

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