Boulder

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The following is the Juggernaut class introduction story from RPG Fitness. If you enjoy this post, you should also read Helena, the Saboteur intro story!  These, as well as the other seven class intro stories, are all found in RPG Fitness!

They called him Boulder.  Not only because of his massive, well-muscled body, but also because of his ability to shatter rock faster than anyone else in the dust mines.  With only a pickaxe or a solid hammer, Boulder could clear through more rock in a day than any two men combined.  His singular focus and remarkable productivity granted him the favor of the mine overseers, who granted him occasional niceties like an extra shower one week, or two extra helpings of rations.

His fellow miners didn’t begrudge him these benefits, however.  Boulder was known to all the other laborers to be a kindhearted man.  He would help those who hadn’t made their soul dust quota at the expense of his own time, and was the first to rush to the scene whenever a cave-in happened, sturdy pickaxe in his hand.

The man seemed built to mine.  Not that he had much choice in the matter.

The soul dust mines were a cruel, unforgiving place.  The Imperium would “recruit” boys as young as ten, or eleven, stealing them away from their homes and offering their parents a few copper pieces as “payment” for a lifetime of forced servitude.  Such a life was short, in the mines.  Most men didn’t make it past their twenty-fifth summer, and to make it past their thirtieth was almost unheard of.

Boulder was twenty-seven the day the order came down: Production needed to go up 20%, within the month.  The rumor was that the resistance was beginning to succeed in putting a dent in the Imperium’s soul dust stockpile.  In a single day, the already hellish workplace was transformed into a place of pure agony.  Men were driven by whips to work sixteen hour days, with scarce enough time to sleep.  Failure and exhaustion were met with reduction of rations, lashes, and even public executions.  Within the week, men were literally dying on their feet.

Boulder soldiered on, cracking through stone and earth at a rate that seemed almost inhuman.  He was granted extra rations for his efforts, and he shared what he could with those around him.

One day, a man working next to Boulder faltered.  He had been groaning all day as he worked, and a sudden slip of his foot brought him to the ground.  He struggled to raise himself again, weak, shaky limbs pushing desperately against the ground.  The foreman came over, whip at the ready.

“Water…please…just a little water…” The man begged, reaching out to the foreman with shaky hands.  The foreman responded by raising his whip, bringing it down upon the man’s back and splitting open his flesh, The man screamed in pain, and collapsed on the ground, moaning softly.  The foreman raised his hand once more, but found something stopping him from following through on the second strike.

A strong, calloused, massive hand gripped him by the wrist.  The foreman turned his head slowly, not comprehending what was going on, and found himself looking into Boulder’s grim face.

“Release me!” The man shouted, impotently pulling at his arm.  It did not budge.  His face slowly turned to fear as Boulder’s frown deepened.

In a single motion, Boulder turned to the side, hurling the foreman fifteen feet.  The man’s body flew through the air, cracking against a stone wall before falling to the ground in a pile.  He did not move.

Boulder leaned down, scooping up his injured comrade off the ground, handling him gently.  The man looked up, not quite understanding what had just happened.

“They’ll kill you,” He said softly.

“They will try,”  Boulder responded, kissing the man’s forehead.  “Let’s get you some water.”

Boulder helped the man hobble on through the mineshaft.  The other workers stared as the pair moved past them.  Some of them turned away, pretending not to see and redoubling their work efforts.  A few, instead, picked up their pickaxes, shovels, and hammers, and followed behind Boulder and his injured charge.  As their small gang grew, foremen began to flee at the sight of them.  They reached the mouth of the mines, and stayed just out of view of the opening.  Some men brought Boulder’s charge a skin of water, and he drank it greedily.

“Ho, you in the mines!” a voice called out.  They knew it belonged to the head overseer.  His usually gruff voice now sounded sickeningly sweet.  “Lay down your arms, and come out peacefully.  All who do so will be forgiven any wrongdoing, save for the brutish oaf who walks with you.  Deliver him to us, and you will all receive an extra ration for today!”

The men looked at Boulder, and shook their heads in unison.  This was not a day for betrayal.  Boulder nodded back at them.

“They will try to kill us.  They may succeed, but I plan on making it damn hard for them, all the way down,” Boulder said.  “Fall in behind me, I will take as many as I can.  I don’t know their numbers for ours, but it doesn’t matter.  We will give them all nine of the red hells!”

The men picked up their weapons, shouting enthusiastically.  Boulder picked up a massive two-handed sledge, and answered their shouts with a roar of his own.  He continued to roar as he barrelled out of the cave, thirty men charging behind him.  They found themselves facing a contingent of over a hundred and fifty foremen, overseers, and Imperium soldiers.  Several miners faltered, but Boulder didn’t stop.  He didn’t even blink.  He charged forward with a single purpose, his eyes locked on the head overseer, who was standing on top of a small tower at the rear of the crowd.

An arrow caught Boulder in the shoulder shortly before he met with the front lines.  He grunted, swinging his hammer with all of his ridiculous strength.  Four men fell in a single cleave, crumpling under the force of his assault.  Boulder’s men fell in behind him, desperately swinging an array of picks, hammers, shovels, and even sticks.  Some fell, and some pressed on, as they were swallowed up by the much larger group.

Boulder quickly cleared a small circle around him, smashing a path through overseer and soldier alike.  Another arrow in his side had joined the one in his shoulder, and his left leg bore a bleeding sword wound.  They didn’t seem to slow Boulder at all, much to the terror of his foes.  A whip caught his wrist as he wound up for another swing of his massive hammer.  Boulder wrapped his hand around it and pulled, sending the man flying over his shoulder.

Slowly, but surely, he smashed his way through the crowd.  The body count had reached at least twenty at this point, not even counting those who were just too injured to continue to fight.  The head overseer began to panic as Boulder got closer and closer to his little tower.  He grabbed a crossbow, fitting a bolt into it and firing it off.  The bolt caught Boulder in the chest, just below his left shoulder.

Boulder grunted, and swung again.  The pain meant nothing, his body screaming at him meant nothing.  The only thing that mattered lay before him.  One, two, three more swings, and the path to the tower was clear.  The overseer was desperately trying to load another bolt in the crossbow Boulder roared, swinging at the tower’s supports.  The tower shook, and the overseer dropped his weapon.

The overseer fumbled for the crossbow in sheer terror.  He heard another inhuman roar, and the tower shook again.  The head overseer fell to the floor of the tower, unable to keep his balance under the assault.  A final roar, and with a splintering crunch, the tower began to lean to one side, slowly but inevitably beginning its descent to the ground.

Boulder smiled grimly as the tower fell.  He strode through the wreckage, finding the head overseer cowering under a small piece of the roof.  Boulder kicked the roof away, and the overseer began openly begging for his life.

“I will give you what mercy you gave us, scum.” Boulder responded in a flat voice, raising his hammer over his head.  The head overseer looked around.  Most of his men were dead, or fleeing.  Many miners had fallen, as well, but more were already streaming from the mine, weapons in hand.  He looked up again, in fear.  The last thing he saw was the head of a massive hammer.

 

That’s all for today!  Remember, if you enjoyed this post, you should also read Helena, the saboteur intro story!  These, as well as the other seven class intro stories, are all found in RPG Fitness!  Check it out!  I’ll see you tomorrow over on the Youtube channel for Q&A Tuesday.  Live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!

Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace

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