Between the days when the waters drank Atlantis (they also sipped Mu, chugalugged Lemuria, and sort of gulped down a couple of really decent tourist islands), and the rise of the sons of Eros, was a time when shining kingdoms were strewn over the lands. To these lands came Gonad the Barbarian to lay the kingdoms and to wear a crown of gold upon a troubled brow. It is I, his chronicler, who knows of all his deeds, and who sets them down in the written word. Cum now, and I will tell of the days of high adventures when Gonad was young.
Gonad was born in the barbarian lands, far to the north, one winter's night when the Frigid Ice Queen's voice howled above the gale, and her two bothers, Daze and Nyghts, filled the wind with snow. The Uthenuth tribe, were a people fearless in the face of danger, tall and straight, strong of arm, agile of foot, but Gonad was born into the Crinninom tribe. The people of the Crinninom tribe, weren't quite as tall as the Uthenuthians, weren't as straight (in fact many were interior decorators), weren't as strong, but they were fearless—in a cautious sort of way.
Now Gonad's father, Gladnad, was an Uthenuthian, and like the rest of his people he was a tall, powerful man with jet-black hair and eyes like coal. He was the third son, of a third son, of a family of blacksmiths. Gladnad, like all the male members of his family, became a blacksmith—he was a good one too. Unfortunately, in Uthenuthian society, when you are third son, of a third son, you don't have much seniority, and in a village of 827, you don't get much work. So, Gladnad moved over to the Crinninom village, where the people were not noted for their metal work (or for very much else, either) and set up his forge. Gonad's mother was a Crinninom girl, golden of hair, blue of eyes, and sensuous of figure. Her name was Udderlee, she was the daughter of Salmon and Allee the sheepherders, and Gonad would always have a soft spot in his heart for ewes.
Gonad had the jet-black hair of his father and the deep blue eyes of his mother. Like his father, he was strongly muscled and tended to act before thinking. Gonad found out, at a fairly early age, that he wasn't really cut out to be a blacksmith. For reasons that never were understood, Gonad tried to do the job in the nude. The sparks that kept burning his skin were annoying, but what finally determined things, was when he was pounding out a bit a metal, and his boy part got caught between the hammer and the anvil. Udderlee insisted that the lad find another type of work; she wanted grandchildren one day, and she saw her dream being cut short (literally), if things continued the way they were going.
One day, young Gonad went with two his friends, Ruff and Oluff, to gather scrambled eggs. When gathering scrambled eggs, it was very important to carry along a big bowl, as scrambled eggs tend to escape when held in the hands. The boys went to the Cliffs of the Birds, where in the spring, birds would lay their eggs on protruding ledges, high above the ground. Unfortunately, the birds would neglect to build nests, and a good many of their eggs would roll off the ledges and fall to the ground below. So it was, that boys (scrambled egg gathering, like hunting, was restricted to males only—females had the joy of cooking and cleaning up the mess afterwards) armed with big bowls, would stand at the bottom of the cliffs and attempt to catch the falling eggs. Of course, eggs falling from way up there, to way down here, end up becoming scrambled (if not somewhere along the way, immediately upon impact), therefore the need for big bowls. Often, half the eggs caught in this manner, ended up splashing upon the bowl holder, for this reason those catching eggs did so in the nude.
"You know," said Gonad after studying the cliffs intently, "if someone were to climb those cliffs, I bet he could get a lot more eggs than we can standing down here."
"Well, yes," replied Oluff, "the thing is—those cliffs are mighty high, and if someone fell off them, they would probably end up looking like scrambled eggs."
"Only reddish," reminded Ruff, "with guts hanging out."
"Not only that," Oluff continued, "but also there are a whole lot of birds up there."
"No problem," laughed Gonad, "both you and I know, birds fly away whenever a person comes near. I think I'll climb the cliff and bring a bunch of those eggs down in a sack. I'm tired of catching eggs in a bowl, most of those eggs end up getting all over me."
"I don't know," Oluff cautioned, "you don't want end up looking like scrambled eggs."
"Yes," Ruff nodded, "reddish scrambled eggs, with guts hanging out. No, I don't think it is a good idea, either."
Oluff and Ruff were purebred Crinninom boys, which gave them a reasonable amount of intelligence and a considerable amount of caution. Gonad, on the other hand, was part Uthenuthian, and it was that part of his heritage that usually ended up not thinking situations through, rushing him into things with daring abandon.
Gonad found himself a good-sized bag, tied it around his neck, and headed up the side of the cliff. If there was one thing that Gonad was good at (other than the daring abandon stuff), it was climbing, and in very little time he managed to climb far up the cliff to where the egg ledges were. True to Gonad's prediction, the birds flew away at his approach. He pulled around his sack and prepared to start filling it with eggs. It was somewhere around this time, Gonad discovered that mother birds are quite possessive of their unhatched offspring. Like a storm cloud of feathers, the birds came flying back and descended upon the egg thief. Gonad quickly became aware of the weak part of his egg harvest plan; he had made no contingency plan for a rapid retreat. Still, retreat he did, but it was an ungainly descent, one in which he was harassed all the way down by biting, clawing birds. Ruff and Oluff watched in wide-eyed amazement as Gonad reached the ground and began running for home.
"We tried to tell him," Oluff sadly said. "He's a bloody mess. Those birds even pecked his pecker!"
"Gonad," Udderlee scolded her son, after he reached home and she was dressing his wounds, "you are bound and determined to keep me from becoming a grandmother. If those birds had pecked you a little bit more, I'd have a daughter and not a son. Thank goodness, you are old enough to begin your coming of age class, and once you come of age I'm going to see you married to Elun of the Earthenware Clan."
"Not Elun," Gonad winced as his mother applied more stinging medication on his wounds, "she is the dirtiest girl in the village!"
"That's just clay from making earthenware," Udderlee told him," besides most men like dirty girls—or is that girls who act dirty?"
"I don't see any difference," Gonad shook his head.
"Oh, you will," his mother smiled wickedly, "after you are married."
It took almost two months for Gonad's injuries to heal, and the lazy days of summer were well underway, when Ruff, Oluff, and Gonad were sitting under a shade tree, trying to decide how to spend the day. They were doing their best to maintain a low profile (young men that maintained a high profile, were often put to work doing tasks, which made them wish that they had maintained a low profile).
"I don't know," Ruff shook his head, "what do you guys want to do?"
"I don't know," Oluff replied, "another week and our coming of age classes begin. Seems that we should do something special before then."
"Hey, maybe we could sneak down to the swimming hole. It's the girls' day down there, and we could see them naked," Ruff said. All swimming, of course, was done in the nude (why get clothes wet, they just require drying afterward). It was the practice of the Crinninom tribe, to keep both girls and boys ignorant of all aspects of sex, until they reached the age of nineteen and had finished their coming of age classes. This was often difficult, if not impossible to do, but the adults of Crinninom like to give it their best effort.
"Yeah, that would be nice," Oluff responded, "I've seen a few girls naked in my day. I wouldn't mind seeing some more."
"I've seen a couple of them, too!" confessed Ruff, "They make me feel funny when I look at them, all nervous-like."
"I know just what you mean," sighed Oluff. "Their breasts all perky and their bushes all fluffy! I tell you, I'm starting to feel funny just thinking about it."
"Me, too!" admitted Ruff.
"Me, too!" added Gonad."
"Dang!" Oluff said looking down at the rising bulge in his loincloth, "that always happens when I think about girls."
"It happens me, too!" added Ruff seeing his own loincloth rise.
"I think it happens to every fellow," Gonad nodded as his loincloth suddenly began to look like a tent, "whenever a guy thinks about a girl."
"I don't think it happens to every guy," said Ruff. "I mean, it only seems to happen to Lenutt when we boys are swimming."
"Lenutt," Gonad nodded, "that's the kid that wants to be an interior decorator, isn't it?"
"No, no," corrected Oluff; "he's likes to make women's clothes."
"Well, how about it?" asked Ruff. "Are we going down and sneak a peek at the girls, or what?"
"You know, that might not be a good idea," Gonad remarked, "those girls can be awful tough on a fellow."
"What?" Oluff gasped in amazement, "You, advising caution? I don't believe it!"
"I've seen what a girl can do, and it isn't pretty. Promise not to tell anyone, and I'll tell you what I saw," Gonad sadly shook his head as the two other boys solemnly swore themselves to keep the secret. "Well, you remember my cousin, Ironad?"
"Isn't he the one that was the winner of the last All Tribes Games wrestling matches?" asked Ruff.
"That's right," confirmed Gonad. "He's big and strong—even for someone from the Uthenuth tribe. Well, a couple of days after he won his last match, I saw him with my older sister, Luverlee. They were out by themselves in the woods, and I came across them by accident. I was going up and join them, when I saw Luverlee throw her arms around Ironad and bite him on the lips. Ironad wasn't about to put up with any of her nonsense; he grabbed her in a bear hug and bit her back."
"I've seen my mom and dad bite like that," Oluff added, "and it is a sure sign of trouble. They get all excited, rush off into their room and shut the door. The next thing you know, there is all kinds of pounding noises coming from the room, like they're in there moving the bed around. Then, the groaning starts, sometimes my mom starts it, and sometimes my dad starts it, but it always ends with both of them moaning something fierce. I guess, they don't want to fight in front of us kids."
"You're right, it does mean trouble," Gonad said, ", and I've seen exactly what happens—it's terrible! Well, Ironad and Luverlee kept grabbing a hold of each other and continued to bite each other's lips. The next thing you know, they really started fighting, ripping and tearing at each other's clothes, before long their clothing was all over the place. In the meantime, they kept biting each other and wrestling. Ironad, locked both his hands around Luverlee's breasts, I could tell it hurt her, because I could hear her moaning all the way to where I was hidden. Luverlee wasn't about to give in, and she grabbed Ironad by his private parts."
"That's an illegal wresting move," protested Ruff, "she should have been tossed out of the match."
"There wasn't any referee," explained Gonad, "and I wasn't going to go running up and stop things—I wanted to see Luverlee get beaten. Anyhow, Luverlee almost brought Ironad to his knees with her hold. Ironad groaned like a sick bear and bit Luverlee's lips some more. Suddenly, he grabbed for Luverlee's private parts, however being a girl—she didn't have any, but that didn't stop him from trying to find them. His hand was moving every which way, trying to get a hold of what she didn't have. He didn't give up, but he stopped biting her lips and started biting her breast. Luverlee had a hold of his man-part, it was all hard and long, and she was doing her best to break it in two.
"Suddenly, Luverlee's legs gave out, and she fell backward still hanging onto Ironad. They struggled for a bit on the ground, until Luverlee locked her legs around Ironad's waist and pulled him into a scissors hold. I guess she had him held tight, because Ironad kept trying to break free, but he couldn't do it. Every time that he'd try to rise up, she'd pull him back down. All the time, they continued to moan and groan as they fought.
"Ironad moaned some words, which I couldn't hear, in Luverlee's ear. She released him, and he fell on his back, but he wasn't there long, when Luverlee got right up over him. She grabbed him by his manhood and tried to crush it by falling on it with her bottom. She bounced up and down on him for a long time. Finally, they both started yelling real loud, and the next thing you know, I heard Ironad give up. He said that she had taken everything he had to give. Sure enough, when Luverlee got off Ironad I could see that she had broken his part, it was lying there all limp and red. I couldn't believe it, but she had beaten Ironad!"
"No!" the two other boys gasped in amazement.
"Yes," Gonad assured them, "it's true! I got out of there as fast as I could because my part was all stiff, and I didn't want Luverlee to break it, like she had broken poor Ironad's! I get into enough trouble, as it is, with my mom when my private part gets hurt. That's why we shouldn't go looking at the girls, they might catch us and break our privates."
After all due consideration, the boys decided that the wisest course of action was to remain where they were and watch the summer clouds go drifting by. It was after all, only another week before they began their coming of age class, and there wasn't any sense in taking any risks before then.
All too soon time passed, and Gonad, along with Ruff, Oluff, and four other youngsters, found himself sitting in the coming of age class. The instructor of the class, Huggar, was an elderly villager who had, over the years, had taught generation upon generation of young males the secrets of manhood. The old man looked over his students and didn't like what he saw (probably because Huggar's eyesight wasn't what it used to be, and every young lad seemed to look a bit like his freeloading brother-in-law).
"Well, then," Huggar cleared his voice and addressed the class, "it is now time for all of you to take that giant step, from the days of boyhood and into the fullness of manhood. During the course of this class, you will learn valuable lessons in hunting, fishing, and fighting."
"What about babies?" Utagg, one of the boys sitting behind Gonad asked. "I've always wanted to know how babies are made, but my folks always say that I will learn about that when I'm a man. I mean, my mom is always having babies, but won't say a word about how it all gets done. She just swells up in the belly, and the next thing you know there's another brother or sister lying around the place—all without a word of explanation."
"Yes, quite," Huggar mumbled looking very uncomfortable, "I understand your curiosity. However, this class does not go into that sort of thing. The making of babies, is something that is left up to girls to explain, to their husbands after they are married. There won't be any discussion of that subject here.
"When your studies are completed, you will go forth on a coming of age quest, after which you will all gain your manhood as members of the tribe."
"Will it be anything like the Uthenuth's quest?" Gonad spoke up; "My cousin Ironad went on one of those. His class had to kill and bring back a cave bear. Not one of those that went out came back uninjured, and some didn't come back at all."
"Well, the coming of age quest does involve a hunt," Huggar nodded as the majority of the boys shifted uncomfortably, looking as if they'd rather be somewhere else, "but we will be hunting the dread snow rabbit, not a cave bear."
"Snow rabbit?" gasped Gonad. He had been the only one in the group who had looked eager at the prospect of hunting a cave bear. "Snow rabbit? What is the glory in that? Where is the danger?"
"For one thing," said Huggar, "you will be hunting the rabbits in winter and winter is cold. Snow rabbits turn white like snow in winter, and they are very hard to find. The creatures tend to stay deep down in their dens, where it is warm, and you have to use a long spear to poke them and pull them out of their holes. Snow rabbits have big feet, and those feet can really kick. There is nothing so terrifying as a herd of snow rabbits stampeding toward you. Many a young man has come back from the hunt, with a bruise or two, on his shins from the kicks of a snow rabbit."
"Why is it we haven't heard anything about this snow rabbit hunt?" asked Ruff. "What with all the young men required to go on this hunt, why haven't we heard any stories about it?"
"There are somethings, young Ruff," Huggar said squinting his eyes at the young man, "that should not be talked about, and the snow rabbit hunt is one of those things. We can't go about frightening all the women and children with such tales. Therefore, each and every one of you must swear yourselves to silence. For the good of the village, the secrets of the hunt must remain—well, secret."
Gonad did his best to hide his disappointment. He had a sneaking suspicion that the real reason the snow rabbit hunt was kept secret, had more to do with keeping down the laughter, than it had with frightening women and children ... Still and all, as time went on, Gonad began to enjoy his studies. He was particularly fond of the fighting lessons. He was not very good with bow and arrows, but he excelled in hand-to-hand combat. Gonad was considerably bigger than his classmates were, standing some six feet four inches tall and weighing a solid 210 pounds. He had no equal when it came to using a sword, and as for unarmed combat, even Huggar had to admit, Gonad had a very good chance to win the next All Tribes Games wrestling matches.
The months flew by for Gonad, and the day of the coming of age quest finally dawned. Each member of the class was issued a ten-foot long spear, and with Huggar in the lead, set forth upon their quest. They left by the dead of night, when there was no one to see them off; it was strictly forbidden, for any villager, to watch the hunters depart or to watch them when they returned.
"I don't see how we're going to find any rabbits in the dark!" grumbled Gonad. "It will be lucky if we don't fall down a hole or something."
"We won't be hunting this night," Huggar assured the group, "we are only going as far as the sacred Temple of the Hunt. There you can rest until first light, and then be about your way. I will remain at the temple, until you return from your quest."
For an hour, the group groped their way through the winter's night. At last, they stood before a small hut and entering they found embers still smoldering in the fireplace.
"I had a fire lit in here earlier in the evening," explained Huggar. "You will find some firewood next to the fireplace. Toss some of it on the embers and get a real fire going."
"Say," Oluff whispered to Gonad "this is Piss House!"
Gonad nodded in agreement, wrinkling up his nose at the unmistakable odor of old urine that filled the room. The Piss House was an abandoned shack, several miles away from the village, where boys would stop and relieve themselves during warmer weather. They had a lot of other options for a urinal (such as, the entire great outdoors around them), but there was something singularly attractive about peeing in the middle of a house—abandoned or not. Gonad could only shake his head in disgust; the mystical Temple of the Hunt had turned out to be only Piss House! It seemed that the entire quest he was setting out upon was nothing but a farce. There was no danger, there was no adventure, and there was no excitement anywhere.
Early the next morning, the young men were up before the sun, and after a quick bite to eat, Huggar had them take up their spears. Wishing them luck, he shooed them away on their quest. Dawn found the group a couple of miles from Piss House, searching the ground for signs of the elusive snow rabbits.
"Gonad, you certainly are looking down," remarked Oluff, "what's wrong?"
"I don't see much that's right!" Gonad growled. "Here we are trudging through the snow, on what should be the hunt of a lifetime, and what for—bunny rabbits! What we should be hunting is a cave bear."
"Have you ever seen one of those buggers?" asked Belun, son of the earthenware maker and the brother of Elun. "They're big, ugly, and they have long, sharp claws and teeth."
"Belun's right," Oluff nodded. "Cave bears are mean. Why one of those beasts could smash you flat in the blink of an eye. If the thing didn't end up eating you, it would leave you lying in the snow, nothing more that a crimson pile of goo."
"With guts hanging out," added Ruff, "don't forget about the guts hanging out."
"But the Uthenuth tribe's young men go out on bear hunts," protested Gonad.
"Gonad, the Uthenuth tribe has only 827 people in it," Oluff responded, "and our tribe has 4799. The reason that we have so many more people is—we don't hunt bears, nor do we do any of the other, thousand and one, dangerous things that they do. Sometimes, a little caution and good sense, can keep a person alive for a long time."
"Let's change the subject," one of the other boys nervously said.