Keeping the Demons Out
By Ronald Douglas Drobeck
are good, and things are going well in Thurgaard. The mead flows with little
foam as the summer has been cool, and the winter’s ice harvest, stored in the hillside
dugouts, is still plentiful enough to chill the kegs this late in the season.
smiles and laughter are corner to corner, wall to wall. Kurt stands after
sitting through four tall, wooden tankards of the fermented honey and nectar.
He stumbles as he lifts one tree trunk sized leg over the bench. A trip to the
steaming trough out back is needed. Kurt lowers his head and zeroes his glassy stare
on the door. With some speed, he manages to cut a relatively straight line but
misjudges the distance and his momentum.
clamor in the room stops and all eyes turn toward the door as Kurt’s body is
stopped by four inches of pine. The thunk
of the collision is followed by a “hoof” as his wolf and bear skin padded butt
hits the floor.
Kurt shakes his head to clear enough space for
a single fuzzy thought to form. He looks up, grins an ear to ear smile and
laughs a laugh that starts out as a baritone siren from his chest and bursts
out of that tangled, wet beard as a roar. The room explodes in a chorus of
belly laughs, and the ground under the building vibrates.
up, with a little help from his friends, Kurt carefully measures the remaining
distance to the door latch, reaches out a warriors forearm, and gently
unlatches the door with a flare of his hand, as if to say, see, I got the latch
part right! He stands, weaving a bit, and scans the room with challenging eyes.
The room goes completely silent in anticipation of something, and then he
smiles. Everyone breaks into a second round of thunderous laughter.
A rush of air bursts through the slightly open
door as it tries to reach the other side of the room so it can fly up the
chimney. The door swings open before anyone is ready, and only stops swinging
when it meets the giant foot of Kurt.
to the floor, a coal dust colored mass, enters with the help of the air rush, and
manages to escape the stomp of Kurt. The alert door hound yelps and catches the
attention of a quick thinking youngster who grabs a wooden bucket of snow water,
and slams it on top of the infiltrator, and captures it, as Kurt slams the door
this land, a door is never opened by one person only for there are demons ever
waiting to enter. At this stage of infiltrating, they are weak and easily
thwarted. Brooms, a bucket, the flame of a torch (its worst fear, for it will
flash burn to oblivion) are the usual defense. This night, in a moment of
carelessness, one almost made it in.
For nearly a century, Thurgaard stood as the classic
model of a newly emerging culture. It wasn’t always so! In the beginning, its
inhabitants were driven to this water bordered peninsula by the gods and
priests of their former mountainous, inland home. These home gods had become ruthless,
greedy, self-serving, and cruel.
This group had suffered
enough and had left to find a new home. They traveled west until stopped by the
sea. They multiplied, grew strong and wise. They established and wrote down new
rules of conduct, the history of their ancestors, and the battles with other tribes
along the way. Their survival is witness of the hardiest of people with a
tremendous will to survive.
Now, the most virulent and aggressive demons have found them. The
discovery by these demons was not personal. They seek out and trouble any life form
they can find, but they especially relish humankind.
In small numbers, demons are no
more than a serious nuisance, but if they can get into the minds and bodies of
the weak, they accumulate and gain strength. As the demons increase in numbers
and strength, they begin to manipulate once healthy minds, and rot the threads
of a successful society’s weave. When the weakened fabric comes apart, the
demons attempt to overrun the remaining strong who now must fight, flee, or
cease to exist!
Their ancestors ran away a century ago. These offspring like where they
are and will run no more! The solution is straightforward but is considered
cruel by the weak and the people that forget the past and lead with their
Thus, goes tale of the tale Thurs
(Toors), and their new beginning.