Tarzan’s estate - east of Lake Victoria British east Africa - (Kenya)
Times have changed as has the Lord Greystoke. He has watched as his beloved Africa fell into the hands of one warlord or another. As UN forces were helpless to aide the sick and hungry. From one conflict to the next he was on the frontlines defending his home and his extended family, his legend never waning. Once considered a Big Bwana, a Chief, and to some a King. He has shed all titles, except those given by his noble British birthright. He no longer sees himself as superior to the people of Africa, he knows himself to be a guest in their land. Some argue that his upbringing in the jungles by the Mangani make him more then deserving of the title of African, but as the world evolved so too did Tarzan’s view of himself and those around him.
It has been 81 years since he last undertook this trek. Then, as now, he was leading the brave Waziri. Only this time it is not in the hopes of rescuing or revenging Muviro's daughter, he buried Muviro and his daughter Buira many decades earlier. Today the Waziri led by Duma, a brave man of noble heart and stalwart courage trek for other reasons. Nor will he be forced to find his beloved Jane, for she is with him. As is the scared little Manu Nikima. The long line of Waziri march on in silence. They carry their traditional weapons of bows, arrows, spears, and shields. However times have added to their armory the British Army Bullpup SA80. However these they use only in the most dire of circumstances, there is a new danger in the jungles. One that will undoubtably be drawn in by the sounds of machine-gun fire, foul-smelling soulless corpses.
He is no stranger to the dangers of Africa from the sweltering jungle to parched savanna, the mighty Bolgani to the brave Sabor he has faced them all. And won. Death instills no fear in his heart so long as it is an honorable death. However, in the world now death comes at the cavernous gullet on the shambling undead. A death that is most certainly anything but honorable. Never has Tarzan faced such adversaries. Immune to the mighty hold of the Lord of the jungle. Unafraid of the many wild denizens. Even the savage Sabor turns and runs when the scent spoor of the undead is in the air.
At the insistence of his beloved Jane he had reluctantly watched the reports coming from around the world. At first confined to the shores of the United States it quickly spread until it was on their doorstep deep in the heart of Kenya. The first one had been a member of a tribe from Tanzania it had made its way over 300 miles. It's body was torn and battered. Any garments that had once covered it body had fallen victim to the thorns and brambles of the dark jungle. Lord Greystoke was on the veranda speaking to Duma about precautions that should be taken with regards to the growing threat. The screams shattered the still African air. Immediately the brave Waziri warriors ran led by Greystoke only to come upon a scene of pure horror. The thing had its head buried in the soft belly of a small child, a woman wailed in pain as blood flowed from her chest. A man laid prone on the ground unmoving in a puddle of his precious life blood. In a red fit of rage Tarzan lashed out at the creature, grabbing a handful of its hair and pulling, he didn’t expect the head to tear clean off, yet, even severed from the body the mouth snapped at the air. It wasn’t until Tarzan sank the blade of his father’s knife hilt deep into the skull that it finally met true death. Then those attack arose, possessed by the primal urge to feed.
They had lost good warriors and many innocents that day.
They had fought bravely.
Nothing had prepared them for what they faced.
That was the day he came to fully understand how contagious the plague was. Even the smallest scratch or bite led to infection and un-death.
The treacherous trek to the Kavuru village they are undertaking, is due solely to the fact that Tarzan’s supply of perpetual youth pellets is all but gone. Tarzan , Jane, and Nikima each have one pellet remaining. It must be taken on the night of the upcoming full moon. Should they fail to secure any more, their youth will surely slip away. When last they escaped the Kavuru village it was burning to the ground and and the madman Kavandavanda was dead, a bullet from Tarzan’s pistol having pierced his heart. For nearly 6 decades the abductions of young women had all but stopped. In that time any that went missing were attributed to Sheeta or Sabor. Then the disappearances began anew. Tarzan thought not of Kavandavanda and the Kavuru but of human traffickers. Traffickers had become a plague, they beset his beloved Africa with their sites set on the young. Tarzan worked tirelessly to ensure that those of his adopted homeland knew of what to look out for from the men that stole women to sell into slavery. Now, his future depends on his memories of the heavily protected city and its inhabitants. Surely Kavandavanda could not have been the only one to know the secret. Perhaps unknown notes were found by the surviving Kavuru and deciphered allowing the pellets to be made anew. He knew from what they were made, “the pollen of certain plants, the roots of others, the spinal fluid of leopards, and, principally, the glands and blood of women - young women.” He knew his life was extended by the deaths of untold innocents, and yet he valued his life and that of Jane above all else. Both he and Jane know their longevity is at stake, their legend.
In the past they would have order Duma and the Waziri into the jungle to engage in the safari so that they could secure the vital pellets. However, this is not the past. Tarzan and Jane sat down with Duma and the counsel and laid out exactly what was at stake, “We do not know what exactly would happen should we run out of pellets. We may grow old slowly or we may lose our youth all at once. But whatever the case, our time will run out.”
“Tarzan, you have lived a long life. To ask us to risk our mortal lives so that you may seek continued immortality is, unconscionable.” Duma said a hint of anger in his voice.
“You are correct. It is a purely selfish request.” Responds Tarzan. “And yet I am asking.”
“You aren’t even certain that these pellets exist. You would want us to leave our village, our families, at a time when the world is overrun with walking corpses.” The anger in Duma’s voice now clear.
Tarzan hangs his head, “I am sorry for insulting you with this request.”
It was several weeks before the horde arrived. They swarmed the village like the Saifu Ant, engorging themselves on any living thing and anyone that their jaws latched on to. Tarzan, Jane, and Duma rallied the Waziri and fought valiantly to protect and defend their families yet they were forced to flee into the darkness of the thick verdant jungle. For several days the survivors of the massacre traveled heads hung low. Tarzan scouted ahead raising his nose to the sky, as Usha brought the scent spoor of wilderness to his flaring nostrils.
Tarzan made his was back to the group, now refugees in their own land, “It is clear ahead. The undead haven’t made it here, yet. We should be safe for a night at least.”
The group stopped and immediately set to the tasks of making a camp. Bomas were erected not to stop Numa or Sabor but to slow down the ravenous zombies. The work is done as quickly and quietly as such work can be done. After gathering the wild edibles of the area and a small Bara they set about eating. Tarzan and Jane sat away from the others. Duma approached, “Tarzan.”
“About what we were talking about before, going to the village, for your pills.” He turned and looked at the gathering of Waziri warriors and families. “We’ll go.”
Categories: Other Factions Chapters