Job searches can be Hell. Especially when you actually live there. “Hell Blade!” is the story of one simple being in that Infernal Pit. Spooge dreams of a life beyond scraping brimstone. Brimstone smells bad. To escape Hell, or actually just change jobs, a person would need vast power. Knowledge is power. Alas, Spooge doesn’t have a clue about where he really lives. His ignorance leads him onto the battlefields of Damn Nation. There, destiny strikes! And Spooge dives for cover and hides—an important job skill in Hell. Soon he stumbles upon an object of immense power: the Hell Blade! Will this tip the balance of Infernal Power? Or, at least lead to a job with dental insurance? Read now a précis of exhalation, exaltation, liberation, and perhaps the moral purpose of air fresheners. “Hell Blade!”—the Epic Synopsis!
An Epic Synopsis
(And Saga of the Life of Spooge)
Bruce S. Larson
Spooge never sought adventure. His grew up in a strange and desolate land where his folk and others eke out an existence scraping rocks. So Spooge grew very strong fingernails. As a young man, or whatever he is–even his parents are uncertain–Spooge finds his nails are good at plucking lute strings. He leaves the family rocks to become a troubadour. For a time, he travels and entertains the many weird folk of the High Cliffs. His competition at first is mostly the sight of the eternal war visible in the fiery lands far below. One day, a Tuesday, he is accosted by the League of Evil Entertainers. They demand he join them and pay heavy dues, or suffer. Deciding to leave their threat undefined, Spooge goes underground. Literally. At the bottom of a deep hole, he meets Sear, an automatic arms smuggler. Spooge stays with the dark and intimidating Sear to play his lute without League persecution. Also, Sear has chained him to remote controlled explosives so he will scrub inside loaded cannon barrels.
Sear’s furtive travels halt when the Society of Traditional Carnage attacks him. They found Sear after hearing an awful lute from under rocks. The fundamentalist group opposes firearms, and insists all violence be committed by traditional slashing weapons. Of course, they are easily defeated by Sear’s rapid-firing guns. However, the key to Spooge’s chain jostles out of Sear’s pocket when he opens fire, and Spooge sets himself free. Not a complete idiot, Spooge swipes a pistol and steel bar from Sear’s wares as he flees. Soon, Spooge needs to pop a few caps himself after blundering into hungry soldiers escaping the eternal war.
His gun now empty, and still wanting to play his lute, Spooge realizes he needs protection. Thus, he sets out to make a living by entertaining well-fed troops in the Canyon of Conquest and Horror, site of the eternal war. Its cause is unknown in the lands above. Spooge never thinks to ask why, and ventures forth.
“This Isn’t New Jersey!?”
Still ignorant of rhyme or reason, Spooge nevertheless becomes a mascot for a platoon in the army of Ssurgenbraut, Patron Demon of Peat Moss and Tight Shoes—and Ruler of Flame! And there is a lot of fire all around. Soon, Spooge learns he is actually in Hell! He knew this was a tough world, but had no idea it was Damn Nation! Spooge learns that Stan, or perhaps Satan, no one can remember for sure, once the ruler of Hell and designator of Evil, has gone missing and presumed destroyed after infuriating his employer, the Supreme Being. Evidently, the problem was something to do with a dental plan. Stan’s infernal underlings, from file clerks to fiery demons, now battle each other to seize his empty throne.
Spooge soon sees hellish battle first hand. Ssurgenbraut’s army is defeated by the superior forces of Abraxxia, Queen of Hell, and Empress of Damn Nation! Once, Abraxxia was either the main squeeze of Stan, or his daughter. No one wanted to ask the distinction. No one can remember for sure. Spooge is captured from beneath is lute, and forced to choose between becoming cannon fodder or food for Abraxxia’s forces. After long deliberation, he chooses to be food. But because this is Hell, he is made cannon fodder. Spooge goes from musical mascot to expendable warrior. At least he gets a change of clothes.
“Victory and Deductibles”
Spooge survives. No thanks to his musical talent. He learns the arts of war, and his mentor Crux teaches him the special skill of hiding. Crux also promises to one day to end Spooge’s suffering by eating him. But because this is Hell, he never does. Crux tells Spooge that Abraxxia and the other warlords seek not only the throne of Damn Nation, but the Hell Blade, a thing of great power and really cool design work. To posses both would assure the conquest of Damn Nation—and beyond.
A skilled general, Abraxxia leads her forces to victory and captures Brimstone Keep, site of Hell’s throne. Abraxxia now has Hell’s greatest fortress, the throne of Damn Nation, and soon hopes to find the Hell Blade within the caverns below. But, because this is Hell, Archangel Michael appears, and begins kicking everyone’s ass in sight. Michael is perpetually annoyed by the lack of a divine dental plan.
For a moment, Spooge wonders if all angels, fallen and presently employed, all have bad teeth. Skilled in the arts of war and special skill of hiding, he dives behind rubble and avoids becoming vapor. It seems that Spooge is now free to escape. But because this is Hell, Crux appears and decides to live up to his agreement to eat Spooge. Tantalized by momentary freedom, Spooge runs away. And keeps running. For a long time. Crux is very hungry. Eventually, Spooge stumbles into a darkened chamber where, yes! he finds the Hell Blade!
Touching the hellish steel, the sinewy Spooge is transformed into a being of infernal power, great abs, and owner of a really cool looking sword. Now named for his awesome weapon, and still not a complete idiot, Hell Blade hightails it out of Brimstone Keep and returns home. To satisfy his hunger, Crux is left to scrape rocks.
“Blade out of Hell”
Returning home, Hell Blade explains his fate, new height and great abs to his family. And then he is asked to scrape rocks. Deciding instead to play his lute, Hell Blade is again accosted by the League of Evil Entertainers, whom he now pummels senseless, and then continues playing. Enraged and mangled, the League’s survivors call out their newest enforcer, the demon Ssurgenbraut! Hell Blade extends a hand to greet the deposed general, and is bitten savagely. Greatly annoyed, Hell Blade stomps on Ssurgenbraut’s overly tight left boot. Punches follow. As their fight rages, many rocks are ground into dust. Eventually, so is Ssurgenbraut. Pleased with the creation of dirt and fertilizer they can use to grow crops, the High Cliff folk celebrate Hell Blade as a demonic hero. Hell Blade finally finds both rhyme and reason. However, he also realizes this is Hell.
Even victorious, Hell Blade knows he cannot stay home, or soon the armies of the eternal war, or worse yet, Archangel Michael, might seek his weapon and level his home. (It may only be a rock, but it’s paid for.) Thus, he bids his family farewell, even embracing his father, whom he notices has really bad teeth. Hell Blade sets out for lands unknown. But what price must he pay for possessing a weapon of vast power, and now a set of great abs? And what machinations of Damn Nation will he face from those who seek…
The Hell Blade!
At least, wherever he goes, there will likely be fewer people to complain when he plays his lute.