Monster Hunter Legends: Knights of the Tundra
Date Started: 19 April 2010
Date Finished: 22 April 2010
Knights of the Tundra – Chapter 1
The Year 183, Modern Times, after the separation of Monsters and Humans.
William stared out over the wall of the Citadel, into the seemingly never-ending tundra. For years he had seen the view, and every time it had amazed him. Looking back, he realized he had probably ended up late to many lessons because of it. Secluded high in the tundra, the Citadel loomed as an impenetrable force, stopping unauthorized access to the lands beyond. What those lands were nobody knew for sure. It had always seemed odd to William that the Barioth Knights secret fort was defending something nobody knew about.
"Not my problem." William muttered to nobody in particular.
The Barioth Knights may have been known to the Guild, but what they did and how they trained was kept under lock and key, only to be seen or heard by the Knights themselves, or allies deemed trustworthy. But the Knights weren't on good terms with the other two of the Grand Trio much. The Tigrex Samurai remained neutral, and the other clan… erm, who were they again? That's right, the Narga Clan or something. That's how out of touch the Barioth Knights were with anyone. Except for infrequent contact with Moga Village, the only town they kept in contact with was at the bottom of the Tundra. It was a small fishing town, keeping the Citadel's location secret from unfriendly inquirers. The Barioth Knights had always kept to themselves. Folk liked to speculate why, coming up with zany theories. William's favorite was that the Knights were hiding a powerful weapon that could destroy the Guild, and that they had found it in the lands beyond the Citadel. William smiled to himself, content with the fact that nobody knew where they where, and no one could harm them.
But far away, across the sea in the Guild's capital, Dondruma, years of hard work were beginning to pay off. The Guild had secretly kept tabs on the Knights activity, and had figured out who their Monster Warrior was. They needed his knowledge of the Barioth to train new hunters in combat. He would soon get a visit from the most infamous mercenary hunter in all of Minegarde – Demnos. He was now bound for the shores of Moga, his squad of hunters vomiting over the side of the boat. "Oh come on guys… a bit of water and you start chucking yah guts up! Get used to it!" Demnos barked at his motley crew. There was no real continuity in his squad – there seemed to be a hunter from every nook and cranny of Minegarde. A bow master from Kokoto, a lance enthusiast from Jumbo, a kid from Pokke and an old dual blade wielder from the desert, all assembled to aid Demnos.
"Lao-Shan almighty…" Demnos sighed as the bow master nearly fell over the edge.
Meanwhile up in the Citadel, William casually prepared to go on a Barioth hunt. He needed the hunt to go on his record, as it would help his credibility when he ventured out to Moga. His friends had called his style of combat "erratic" and "goofy" when he was young, but that was before he had found out he was the Barioth Warrior. His mother, the Citadels acting Elder, had kept it secret, apparently "as a joke". "Oh yeah, real funny, laugh it up…" William had remarked, sixteen at the time. He had quickly learned the three traits, the three things that his ancestor had gained from the Barioth. At least, he thought they were the three traits, but his mother had called them that, and really, she wasn't serious at the best of times. He repeated them to himself every time before a hunt. "Endurance, heat and balance." William had finished putting his armor on and headed towards the exit of the Citadels wall. Strapping his Switch Axe to his back, he heaved the heavy bar off the wooden door, and headed out into the tundra.
Little did he know, an elite team of hunters was on their way to find him… "KID!! Stop fooling around! If we don't work as a team, we'll never find the Barioth Knights!!" growled Demnos, his patience wearing thin. If all goes well, Demnos thought, a sneaky smile creeping onto his face, I can find this Barioth Warrior by myself…
Knights of the Tundra – Chapter 2
The ship pulled in at Moga Village, greeted by a local dressed in the armour of this region's Guild outpost. Demnos didn't really care for the Guild – he only cared about how much money he was payed. He had given up his old life with the Desert Nomads, and after an unsuccessful bout at hunting, had become a mercenary for hire. He still retained his famed weapon though – Siegmund, the evil looking Greatsword made of Rathalos materials. The local shook hands with Demnos, then his squad. After she finished, she said, "Good. If you'll just come with me, I will get a transport organized to take you to the tundra." The squad headed off, uncertainly following the Guild official. None of them had ever been to Moga Village. The bow master of Demnos' squad approached the official. "May I ask, is the tundra in the same area as the Pokke Mountains?"
"In the sense that they are both in the north, yes." The official replied.
"Oh. So are they like the mountains? Cos' if they are, we won't have much trouble."
"No, I believe they surround a frozen river, so much of the lowlands is frozen as well. The temperature is much lower than the Pokke Mountains, and the actual mountains and cliffs are extremely jagged." The official explained, smiling. The bow master's face went pale, and he nodded slowly then retreated to the back of the group.
The bow master may have feared the tundra, but William did not. Growing up as a Knight in the tundra trained you in the ways of safely navigating its dangerous cliff faces. At the moment, he was standing precariously on the peak of an ice cliff, looking for any sign of a Barioth. He noticed a few dead Popo littered about, and decided to drop down and check it out. He slid awkwardly down the sloped side of the cliff, using his sharp gauntlets in an odd way of balancing. He dropped down suddenly, and he realised he had reached an entrance to the cave system that snaked its way through the ice mountains. "Don't want to run into a Gigginox now…" he noted out loud. Heading down a safe pathway that ran down the outside of the mountain, he heard the echo of a roar. He was closing in on the Barioth. And it was a biggun… he had just stepped in one of its footprints.
When the Guild official had said "transport", Demnos hadn't expected this. They were travelling to the tundra on a carriage being pulled by Aptonoth. Demnos had asked why, but the official had only replied with "You'll see!". The kid from Pokke spoke up. "This sucks. I wanna hunt some monsters damnit!"
"Are we gonna actually hunt any monsters?" said another.
Demnos turned around from the front of the carriage, a furious glare on his face. "That depends. Would you like to go into a hunt against monsters you've never seen before, monsters that can live on land AND water? You guys would not last A MINUTE. Now stop yapping, and focus on the mission!" Demnos just finished saying, then the carriage was jerked forward as the Aptonoth that were controlling the carriage sped up alarmingly. "Now were talking!" Demnos grinned. The driver looked at him, opened his mouth to say something, but closed it and went back to steering. The lance enthusiast was peering out the back of the carriage, and he nervously said "Erm… cap'n? You might wanna see this." Demnos cautiously moved to the back of the carriage. He looked out, and his eyes widened in alarm. "What the?"
Out on the track behind them, an alarming number of small bird wyverns were chasing the carriage! Demnos moved back to the front, and the driver said, "Never seen a pack of Jaggi before?" chuckling to himself.
Even the Barioth's snores were loud. Keeping his distance, William had tracked the Barioth through the snow. He had lost it at one point, but had eventually caught up with it. For such a big wyvern, it had managed to be very stealthy and quick. William was choosing what to do next: his whole hunt could depend on how he handled the sleeping Barioth. Night had fallen not long ago, and he needed to get to a shelter soon. This was his dilemma. He could go and find shelter, and track the Barioth in the morning, or, he could wound it now and combat it. "Nah." He said softly, and turned to go. But, just his luck, a Baggi had snuck up behind him, and now chose to lash out at him. Crying out, William stumbled, pulling out his Switch Axe to deal with the Baggi. The Baggi did not realise the danger it was in till the last second. William, his back to the Barioth, had not seen it wake up. He had not seen it circle around just out of the Baggi's eyesight, and Williams. Which was why he was so shocked when the Baggi was thrown to the side by a powerful gust of wind, and the following Barioth. "Oh, shit…" William muttered, as he realized he would have to fight to get away successfully. Luckily, the Barioth was busy ripping the Baggi to shreds, and this gave William some extra hits. Striking its back first, William jumped to avoid its sweeping tail, as the Barioth swung round. He then sliced at its forearms, running past them on his way to the Barioth's tail. But he had not remembered the Barioth's size: in a moment it had knocked him flat on his back with a second spin. Leaping up quickly to avoid the Barioth's vicious fangs, he headed off out into the snow, sheathing his Switch Axe and going into a sprint. He zigzagged wildly, not daring to look back. He kept running, and dived into the first visible cave. In one way, he had chosen to find shelter…
On the Aptonoth carriage, Demnos' squad had fallen asleep, the Jaggi long since gone. Demnos had been dozing, but an odd noise in the distance had woken him. Taking over the driving from the old man whose carriage it was, he asked, "How long will it take to reach the tundra?"
"My Aptonoth can only take you as far as the snow forest, but then it is only about a two hour walk to the ice river and the village there. You and your… squad, should reach it by mid-morning if you set off early."
"Perfect. Nothing like a freezing cold morning to get you going." Demnos replied groggily.
Knights of the Tundra – Chapter 3
Having to spend the night in an ice cave wasn't comfortable. William had made a quick, makeshift-sleeping mat, and then had walled himself in by covering the entrance with snow. He had woken up cold and drained of energy, but a hot drink and a couple of rations had sorted it out. His wife was probably wondering where he was. It wasn't uncommon for a Knight to end up camping while out in the tundra. Its harsh conditions and powerful monsters made it hard for most Knights to return to the Citadel without stopping. William had proceeded that morning to head for the ice river, leaving dead Popo in a bad excuse for a trail. The ice river was a common area for combat, as its open land gave hunters room to attack and evade monsters, as well as the occasional ice break…
"It's really cold." Said the old dual blade wielder, who was used to the desert heat. "Um, yeah, it usually is in mountains. Haven't you ever been to any mountains before?" replied the bow master. "…no."
"And you call yourself a hunter…" sighed the bow master.
"You're one to talk. I saw you cringe at the sight of these mountains!" replied the old man with a grunt.
"Shut up, both of you!" Demnos snarled. He had gotten fed up of his squad bickering. Trust the Guild to give me the worst combination of hunters, thought Demnos. The squad had reached the ice river an hour ago, and had been following it for a while with no sign of civilisation. A deafening roar broke the silence, from somewhere on the other side of the river. What had made the roar, none of the hunters knew. Five pairs of eyes scanned the ice cliffs in search of something, but nothing caught their attention. "Hrmm," Demnos murmured, "best be careful in this environment…"
Hidden in the maze of cliffs, William had heard the roar to. But he knew where it had come from. After William had left a dead Popo on the ice river, he had gone back into the cliffs, watching his trail from above. Soon, the Barioth had appeared. Near invisible in a blizzard, the Barioth's white scales had hidden it from William's gaze for a moment. But then, at almost the same time, they had noticed each other. That was when the Barioth roared. Clutching his ears, William dropped down off his ledge and unsheathed his Switch-Axe. The Barioth came leaping at William, over the dead Popo, its bounds causing shakes in the ice. It stopped to a skidding halt, narrowly missing William. He ran into the Barioth's side, hacking with his Axe. This moved the Barioth closer to the ice river, but the Barioth wasn't going easily. William decided on a rather rash tactic. He angered the Barioth further, by attacking and dodging most of its attacks. Then, William sheathing his weapon on the way, headed off towards the ice river at a sprint. He had studied the Barioth's movements all his life, and this hunt depended on those studies being right.
William burst onto the ice river, still running at full pace. He looked down the ice river, and noticed a few hunters from a different region heading his way. The leader pointed and started to jog, waving on the way. William's eyes widened as he looked back to where the Barioth was hovering, and then back to the small group of hunters. William cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled, "STAY BACK!!", but the one at the front didn't seem to be listening. William dropped to the ground as the Barioth flew down, gliding just over where William's head had been.
Demnos hadn't been expecting that. It was the strangest looking monster he had encountered. He guessed from the guild official's descriptions that this was a Barioth. Oh, he thought, that's why he yelled stay back… The man was getting up now, his weapon in his hand. "Can we lend a hand mate?" Demnos called. It wouldn't hurt to give his squad a hunt, if they had wanted one from stepping in Moga Village. The man turned to Demnos, and then looked quizzically at his squad. He made a face as though he was making a decision, then said "Sure. But be careful, this is a biggun!" He ran after the Barioth, which had recovered and was now on the ice river facing Demnos. Demnos grabbed his Greatsword, and headed to join the man. The beast was extremely odd in combat. Many of its moves were unpredictable to Demnos, who blocked a tail swipe with his Greatsword. Demnos swung, but his strike missed and smacked the ice, breaking part of it. "Go for its arms!" he heard one of his squad call. Executing a side swing, he caught the Barioth on the arm. It flinched, and backed off as it saw the other hunters readying to strike. It gave one loud roar, then glided off into the ice cliffs. "Thanks for that." Said the man with the Switch-Axe. "No problem. My squad here was itching for a hunt."
"What was that?" asked the kid.
"That, was a Barioth. And a biggun at that. It'll be back, I'm sure it will be." The man paused, and studied the squad for a second. "I'm being rude," he said suddenly, "Hello! My name is William, and I am a Barioth Knight. To be exact, I am the Barioth Warrior. Do you folks need any hel-" he stopped short as Demnos levelled his Greatsword at William's neck. "I believe you will be coming with us, Monster Warrior."
Knights of the Tundra – Chapter 4
William gulped, not sure what to do in this situation. He had a Greatsword leveled at his chin, and a foreigner glaring at him with a squad of dimwits. Cautiously, he asked, "What is this about? I haven't done anything to you… have I?"
"My name is Demnos. My squad and I have been hired to bring you back to Guild headquarters in Dondruma, so you can pass on all your freaky little secrets to new hunters. And we have been told to use any force necessary… so, are you going to come willingly, or am I gonna have to cripple you…"
"Um, cap'n? Couldn't we just knock him out and tie him up?" murmured the one with the lance.
"SHUT UP! We do this whatever way William chooses! Now… huh?!" By the time Demnos had turned back, William had run off back across the ice river. He turned and saw Demnos running after him, which was a struggle as he was still holding his Greatsword. Sensing a fight, William brought out his Switch-Axe and went into a fighting stance on the ice. He would use his balance and endurance to outwit this mercenary…
Demnos enjoyed it when they ran. It gave his mission more purpose, more challenge… His squad hadn't moved much, but he didn't care. They were spineless in one on one combat, as they were used to fighting monsters, not humans. Demnos had caught up to William, and he swung his Greatsword in a side slash. If the freak hadn't slid backwards, he would have had his ribs crushed. As he prepared to swing again, he heard William say, "Weapons are for fighting monsters, not man!" What a fool. The Barioth Knights obviously hadn't had much contact with the outside world, let alone the Guild. "You Knights should've given in to the Guild a long time ago!" Demnos yelled back, "You only secluded yourselves in these mountains! What is your PURPOSE!?" Demnos brought his Greatsword up in a great arch, and it crashed down on the ice with a deafening crack.
William saw this as his chance to attack, or at least make the man back off. He made a wild swing with his Axe, which the man fluently dodged. Switching to the sword, William slashed back across and nicked Demnos' arm. Enraged, Demnos cried out and swung over his head and smashed the ice yet again. With his heightened balance, William could feel something shift beneath him… the ice was cracking. Any extra weight would start a chain reaction, causing the ice river to break up. That was when William spotted the Barioth. It had probably gone to eat some of the dead Popo's and recovered some energy. It was now back, and it looked angry… The other hunters, Demnos squad, saw it too, as they headed off across the ice to go and combat it. Demnos had his back to it, and William could see the Barioth going into a leap.
He had no idea what happened when it did. There was a crack, and Demnos could feel something behind him… Turning around cautiously, his Greatsword still ready to attack, Demnos realized it was the Barioth from before. It was balanced carefully on four blocks of ice, each limb on a different block. The Barioth had its head down, and was making an odd whining noise. The blocks grew further apart, and the Barioth wobbled. "Stupid beast," Demnos muttered, taking one hand off his Greatsword to watch the great monster fall. It reared its head up, and Demnos thought it was going to make one last roar, and instinctively drew his hands up to ears. But suddenly, William was yanking him back as the Barioth made a final attempt to get out of its predicament. It opened its powerful jaws, and its tusks clamped down just in front of Demnos face. The Barioth fell, lashing out wildly in the freezing water, and sank, carrying Demnos' arm with it. He was in such awe and shock he didn't notice at first. But the warmth of his blood soon brought him back to his senses, along with William shaking him.
"Oh, shit, shit, shit, shit…" William was shocked. The Barioth had managed to clamp down on the exact space between Demnos' gauntlet and chest plate, ripping most of his arm off. The sight was rather horrific. Demnos' squad was returning, and the kid had vomited when he saw Demnos' state. "Demnos, can you hear me? Demnos?" No response. "Any of you here know any first aid? I need some help bandaging him up." William looked from face to face, then the old man spoke. "I have some immunizers… if that helps."
"YES! Pass them over. Thanks…" William, holding the immunizer, managed to get some into Demnos mouth. Bandaging the wound as best he could, William looked at the worried faces of the hunters. "Ok. I'm going to have to take him to the Citadel – it has the best medical service for miles. I'll need one of you to help me."
"I will! I'm from Pokke. I can go through mountains easy!" the kid volunteered. "Great. Let's get going then."
With Demnos slung over his shoulder, William made the trip to the Citadel in reasonable time. The kid had come in useful, slaying a few Baggi on the way. He navigated the complicated mazes of caves and ice mounds, eventually reaching the far side of the tundra. Above, bridging the valley it was nestled in, lay the Citadel. "What's your name kid?" asked William. "Markus. None of the others bothered to learn it. Why are you trying to save Demnos? He tried to kill you. And if you do help him, won't he just sell out the location of the Citadel?" replied Markus, a concerned look on his face. "Hrmm. I expect we will drug him, and you, for the return trip. I am mainly saving him to see what information he has."
Later in that day, Markus was left down in the Citadel's medical room. William went to see his wife and told her where he had been and what had transpired. He also went and saw the elders, telling them his story as well. The elders all agreed that Demnos was to be cared for, but then returned to the Guild and sent to prison. The elders also agreed that they should have more contact with the outside world, and also with the other clans. Markus asked William when he came to see Demnos, "Do you think the Guild will come looking for trouble again?" William had no idea. The only information that could be extracted from Demnos was that the mission had always been to kill William, then blame it on a hunting accident – thus, the hired hunters purpose was explained.
"I don't think I trust the Guild anymore." Said Markus. It was the morning after Demnos had been returned to the squad, and he was asleep in the Aptonoth carriage. "And you promise you will turn Demnos in to Guild authorities?" this was William. "Yes, but it will have to be a minor one. Maybe far from Dondruma." Said the old man. Demnos' squad had turned out to be very cooperative, and had leapt at the chance of returning to Minegarde's main land. "But what I don't understand, is why would the Guild want to kill Monster Warriors? You guys are awesome! If they killed you, us hunters wouldn't learn how to fight the monsters of the Grand Trio!" remarked the bow master.
"I don't know why, but I think some thing bad is happening in the Guild. We should all be wary for the future." William looked back towards the tundra, and said his goodbyes to the squad. There was going to be harsh time ahead.
Year 1 - Fates Legend
Year 171 - Rathalos Red
Year 173 - Requiem of Fire
Year 183 - Knights of the Tundra
Year 197 - Secrets Shaded Black
Year 198 - The Tigrex Samurai
Year 208 - The Tigrex's Rage
Year 208 - The Guardian
Year 210 - The Grand Trio
Year 210 - Hunters of Valor