Mightora Meets Tyrannor
Written by argonaut :: [Tuesday, 31 August 2010 15:09] Last updated by :: [Saturday, 10 May 2014 11:19]
Sheera, daughter of Pondo the chief, knelt by the village spring, gazing intently into its clear placid water.
“Admiring your reflection?” said a taunting voice behind her. Tor was approaching along the path, an empty water-skin slung over his shoulder. “Just like a girl.”
Sheera ignored him. She stood up and called to her father, who was sitting in the shade of a nearby tree and listening to a dispute between two villagers. “Father, could you come here for a moment? I think you should see this.”
“What is it, Sheera?” Pondo dismissed the bickering villagers and walked up to where his daughter stood waiting.
“Look!” Sheera pointed to the spring. Its calm surface was suddenly broken by a series of concentric ripples. The ripples died down quickly, but arose again a moment later.
“See that, father? I think some giant beast may be nearby – and it may be headed for our village.”
Pondo stroked his beard thoughtfully. “You may be right, Sheera. I had best tell our people to be ready.”
“Aw, Sheera’s just being a fraidy-cat,” scoffed Tor. “Besides, if some big monster does come along, Mightora will protect us.”
Pondo frowned. “Sheera is anxious for the safety of our village, as befits the daughter of the chief,” he said severely. “But she is not a coward. Now come.” Turning, he strode off toward the village.
Tor hung his head. “Yes, Pondo,” he said meekly, trotting along behind him.
Sheera gazed thoughtfully after them. Tor’s right about one thing, she thought. If some giant beast is coming our way, the village might need help – from Mightora!
She watched as the villagers gathered round Pondo, listening intently as he spoke, then raising a fierce battle-cry when he was finished. They ran off to their caves, hurrying out again a few moments later – the men brandishing clubs and spears, the women dragging great nets woven from stout vines.
Suddenly one of the men pointed upward. “Look!” A dark speck, tiny against the expanse of blue sky, was growing larger by the moment. Already they could see that it was an enormous boulder, falling toward the village as hurled by a far-off giant …
The villagers scattered in panic, running for the safety of their caves or flattening themselves against the cliffs that lined the valley. The boulder landed with an earth-shaking crash, then bounded off toward the spring, where Sheera was still standing …
“Run, Sheera!” shouted Pondo. “Get out of the way!”
But Sheera did not move.
“She’s too frightened to run!” said Tor. He sprinted after the boulder, but he knew it was hopeless. In another moment, the great stone would crush Sheera like an insect …
Sheera stood her ground as the boulder came thundering toward her, looming larger with every passing moment. No one could see her now as she stretched out her arm, grasping the club that hovered by her side, invisible to all eyes but hers, and called out the name: “MIGHTORA!”
There was a crackle of electricity, a flash of lightning, a peal of thunder. Once again, Sheera felt an incredible strength surge through every muscle in her body, transforming her into the mighty champion of her people – the invincible Mightora!
And not a moment too soon. The boulder was less than an arm’s length away …
Pondo averted his eyes, unable to look. Tor stopped running and watched helplessly as the boulder careened down the valley. "Sheera!" he cried.
Next moment, the huge rock burst into a thousand fragments that rained down on the village amid a cloud of dust. The villagers threw their arms over their heads and cowered as the rubble fell clattering all around them. Tor had flung himself face down on the ground; now he looked up. Standing in the haze of dust was a figure – tall, regal, confident …
“M-Mightora?” he stammered, scrambling to his feet.
“Mightora!” cried Pondo. “My daughter – Sheera – is she …?”
“Your daughter is safe, Pondo.” Mightora’s strong, resonant voice sent a thrill through Tor’s loins. She strode forward and laid a reassuring hand on the chief’s shoulder. “I was just in time to pull her away from the boulder and fly her to safety.”
Pondo heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank you, Mightora!”
Tor was barely listening as he stood gazing in wonder at the mighty heroine. Marveling, his eyes ran along the firm, shapely contours of her arms and legs … at the splendid curves of her breasts, straining against her skimpy tiger-skin tunic … at the tousled mane of coppery hair that fell in gleaming waves down her wide shoulders …
“But tell me,” Pondo was saying. “Where did that boulder come from?”
As if in answer to his question, a long shadow fell across the village and a peal of harsh, mocking laughter echoed along the valley.
Mightora and the villagers looked up. Standing at the edge of a cliff, just above the lava pools, loomed a tyranno-beast. It reared its head and let out a long, throaty bellow that made the ground tremble beneath the villagers’ feet. And next to the great lizard stood a bandy-legged, barrel-chested man clad in a bearskin pelt and brandishing a long, cruel whip.
“It is I – Grokk!” the man shouted. “And I have come to challenge your champion – Mightor!”
“But Mightor is gone,” said Pondo.
Mightora stepped forward. “I am the champion of the village now.”
“You?” Grokk laughed scornfully. “Mightor is a greater coward than I thought if he lets a female do his fighting for him. Go back to your cooking fire, girl. You are no match for Tyrannor!”
“We’ll see about that!” Mightora cried as she sprang forward with a mighty leap. Hovering above the valley floor, she faced Grokk defiantly. “I am Mightora,” she declared. “And I accept your challenge.”
“So be it!” Grokk sneered. “You will battle my pet – Tyrannor. If he wins, you must leave this valley, never to return – and its people will become my slaves.”
“And if I win?”
“Ha! Impossible! Behold!” He cracked his whip. “Tyrannor – destroy!”
The great lizard sprang from the cliff and landed with a crash that shook the ground and sent great slabs of rock tumbling to the valley floor. Crouching, it advanced toward the village with ponderous strides, its head thrust forward, its jaws agape, its massive tail swinging back and forth. The men of the village grabbed their weapons and formed a line that stretched across the valley, determined to protect their home from the monster or give their lives in the attempt …
Spear in hand, Tor was advancing at one end of the line, in the shadow of the cliff. He paused by a recess in the rock wall. A steep narrow path rose through solid rock toward the top of the cliff, not far from the spot where Grokk was standing. Tor stroked his chin, considering. If he climbed the path, maybe he could take sneak up on Grokk, take him by surprise …
Gosh, he thought. I bet that would impress Mightora!
He closed his eyes …
“Oh, Tor,” said Mightora, her eyes shining with admiration. “You captured the evil Grokk all by yourself. How brave of you – how clever!”
Tor shrugged. “It was nothing – really.”
“Don’t be so modest. Such courage deserves a reward.” Her scanty tunic fell to the ground with a soft rustle. Stepping forward, she slid one hand down Tor’s chest and under his loincloth.
“At last,” she murmured. “I have found a male worthy to be my mate … “
Tor’s throat was dry, his voice was hoarse. “I -- “
“Hush,” she said, laying a finger on his lips. “Now is not the time for words.” She leaned toward him, eyes closed, lips parted. “Take me,” she moaned. “Take me, my hero … “
A deafening bellow shook Tor from his reverie. The rest of the line had moved ahead. Glancing surreptitiously over his shoulder, Tor slipped into the recess and began climbing the narrow rocky path.
The defenders of the village closed ranks as Tyrannor reared up on his hind legs, snapping his immense jaws and clawing at the air. Mightora was flying around him, now swooping in, now darting away, like a persistent mosquito. An angry rumble rose in the monster's throat …
“Tyrannor!” Grokk shouted from the top of the cliff. He cracked his whip. “Behind you!”
Slowly Tyrannor turned his head. Mightora was standing behind him, wrapping her arms around his massive tail. Tyrannor leaned forward, bellowing, and raised his tail, higher and higher, lifting Mightora with it …
“Ha!” gloated Grokk. “Tyrannor will crush you like a gnat, foolish girl!”
The villagers watched, horrified, as Tyrannor swung his tail against the cliff, shattering the rock into enormous fragments that fell thundering in a great mound to the valley floor. Surely not even Mightora could have survived such a blow as that?
But hardly had its echoes died away than their champion came bursting out of the heap of stone. The villagers sent up a cheer as Mightora circled round the great lizard, once again wrapping her arms around its tail, gripping it with all her strength and tugging back …
“You forget, Grokk,” she cried. “Gnats can sting!”
Tyrannor’s bellows of pain rolled down the valley. He tried to flee, but his claws found no purchase in the stony ground as Mightora dug in her heels and pulled. Slowly, inexorably, the great lizard was dragged back, helpless against his opponent’s mighty strength. Now he found himself being swept irresistablyly in a wide arc as Mightora swung round …
She looked back over her shoulder. “Spread a net!” she cried. “Over there – by that cliff!”
A dozen villagers ran forward, bearing one of the great nets, and spread it out at the base of the cliff. Mightora was turning faster now, dragging the helpless monster in circles like a thresher’s flail – once … twice … thrice …
The villagers drew back, staring in awe as Mightora flung Tyrannor across the valley. His head struck the cliff; his enormous bulk collapsed onto the net. For a moment, he lay still; then he stirred, rising groggily on his hind legs. He stood briefly, swaying, then toppled like a felled tree and lay motionless, defeated.
The villagers’ cheers filled the valley as Mightora flew round the prostrate beast, gathering the four corners of the net, then soared upward, lifting him off the ground. High above the cliffs that enclosed the valley, she began to swing her arm round and round over her head, whirling Tyrannor in circles, faster and faster, like a stone in a sling. Letting go, she watched as the fallen monster sailed in a high arc off into the distance, toward a huge volcano that smoldered ominously against the horizon.
Mightora looked down toward the cliff where Grokk stood shaking his fist and snarling in rage.
“I have won your challenge, Grokk,” she said. “I have defeated your champion and sent him back to the Valley of Monsters where he belongs.”
“Yes,” shouted Pondo from the valley below. “So it is you who must leave, never to return.”
Grokk smiled craftily, displaying a row of crooked yellow teeth. “You think so?” He reached behind a boulder and dragged a bound figure toward the edge of the cliff. Grabbing his captive roughly by the arm, he hauled him upright. Even at that distance, Mightora’s keen eyes had no trouble seeing who it was.
Tor! She thought, rolling her eyes in exasperation. He must have had some foolhardy plan to capture Grokk. Now he was a hostage, bound hand and foot, poised precariously above the lava pool at the foot of the cliff …
“Surrender!” Grokk shouted. “Or I will throw this stripling into the lava pool!”
Looking down, Tor gazed fearfully into the bubbling cauldron of molten rock. Then he lifted his head. “I’m not afraid,” he said defiantly. “If you push me over the cliff, Mightora will save me!”
Grokk laughed scornfully. “Fool! It will take you but a moment to fall into the lava. Is your champion swift enough to catch you in time?”
Mightora sighed. Grokk had a point.
“You win, Grokk,” she said. “Give me your word that you will not harm the boy and I will leave.”
Grokk slipped his free hand behind his back and crossed his fingers. “You have my word,” he shouted. “Now begone!”
Mightora glared down at him for a moment, then slowly turned and flew off.
Down below, the villagers exchanged uneasy glances. Had Mightora saved them from the terrible Tyrannor, only to desert them now?
“This is Tor’s fault,” grumbled one of the warriors.
“Indeed,” said another. “Mightora should have let Grokk toss him into the lava pool.”
Pondo held up a hand to silence them. “Tor may be rash and foolhardy,” he said. “But he is one of us. I would not let Grokk harm him – and neither would Mightora.”
Grokk’s triumpant laughter rang out from the clifftop. “Ha!” he exulted. “Even without my champion, I am still the victor. Pondo! Tell your warriors to throw down their – eh?”
A geyser of lava had erupted from the pool. Grokk leapt back, cursing, as gobs of molten rock fell hissing at his feet. Mightora hovered at the cliff’s edge, eye to eye with the would-be tyrant.
“You!” Grokk snarled. “How …?”
Mightora tossed her head. Drops of steaming lava slid down her body and fell into the pool below. “As soon as I was out of sight, I began burrowing through solid rock, carving out a tunnel with my bare fists, so that I could fly up through the lava pool and take you by surprise. Now – release that boy!”
“As you wish!” Grokk pushed Tor toward the edge of the cliff. A cry of terror rose from Tor’s throat as he teetered for an instant, then fell …
“Your champion has won this time!” Grokk shouted at the villagers below. “But I will return – and then, victory will be mine!” Turning, he scuttled off.
Mightora had swooped down and caught Tor by the back of his loincloth. Now, dangling him from her outstretched arm, she began descending to the valley below.
“Goodness, Tor,” she scolded him. “What were you thinking – trying to capture Grokk by yourself? You must learn to be less impetuous. Someday I may not be around to rescue you!”
Alighting, she set him down, gently but unceremoniously, amid the grinning villagers. One of the warriors drew a stone knife from his belt and set to work cutting through the leather cords that bound Tor’s ankles and wrists.
Pondo stepped forward. “Once again, you have saved our village, Mightora,” he said. “How can we ever repay you?”
Mightora smiled. “Just try to keep Tor out of trouble.”
Pondo shook his head. “Alas,” he said gravely, “I fear that such a task is beyond even your mighty powers!”
The villagers roared with laughter. Tor stood up, red-faced, rubbing his chafed wrists. I guess I didn’t impress Mightora much, he thought. But wait till next time!
Pondo was speaking. “But now Grokk has fled into the crevice that leads to the Caverns of Doom,” he said. “How you ever find him?”
Mightora frowned. The Caverns of Doom were a vast labyrinth of caves that honeycombed the plateau. Grokk might hide there indefinirely … unless …
“I have an idea,” said Mightora. “Stand back, all of you.”
The villagers watched curiously as Mightora strode up to the cliff and pressed her hands against the rock. Leaning forward, she began to push. For a long moment, nothing happened. Then the ground began to tremble underfoot and a low rumble filled the air. Mightora continued to push, straining her mighty muscles to the utmost. The valley shook; the rumble grew to a grating roar as a thousand tons of rock began to move. Step by step, Mightora pushed the cliff back, grunting with effort, until the crevice leading to the Caverns of Doom closed with a boom that reverberated through the valley like a thunderclap.
“There!” proclaimed Mightora, regarding her handiwork with satisfaction. “That will hold Grokk for a while. And now …”
She sprang into the air and flew off amid the cheers of the villagers, her battle-cry echoing from cliff to cliff. “M i i i i i g h . . . TORA!”
Shading his eyes, Tor gazed longingly after her as she dwindled to a speck against the sky, then vanished. Gosh, he thought. I wonder when I’ll see her again?
He heard a familiar voice behind him. “What did I miss?”
He turned around. Sheera had returned. Pondo stepped forward with outstretched arms to embrace his daughter.
“Nothing much,” Tor said casually. “Mightora just defeated a tyrano-beast, that’s all. Oh, and she stopped the evil Grokk from making us his slaves.”
Sheera’s eyes widened. “Goodness!” she exclaimed. “I’m sorry I missed that.”
“And I helped,” Tor added modestly.
“You did?” Sheera smiled as she took Tor’s arm. “Well, you’ll have to tell me all about it – about how you helped her, I mean.” She sighed. “I sure wish I could be like Mightora.”
“You?” Tor scoffed. “You’re a swell girl, Sheera, but I can’t imagine you fighting monsters or moving a cliff with your bare hands.”
“I guess you’re right,” Sheera said ruefully. “But a girl can dream, can’t she?”