The Archer – A Vitruvian H.A.C.K.S. story

One of the best things about Boss Fight Studios Vitruvian H.A.C.K.S. figures is the ability to customize. Just mixing and matching parts can create entirely new characters. And of course, when I do make a custom figure there has to be a story to go with it.
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She feels ridiculous.

Gone is the armor she has worn most of her life. Replaced with something that she doesn’t even know the name of, just that it was worn by her enemies. There are still stains of blood that used to belong to the body they took it from.

It swishes when she walks, pieces catching between her legs. How could they stand to wear nothing but this, she thinks as she paces around her tent. The enemy wore it, so should she, the elders had said.

She had thought she would get used to the long piece of hide, the leaves woven in the belt. Get used to it as she waited for the call. Waiting for the chance to be embarrassed in front of the entire clan.

Embarrassed or killed.

If this fails, she will be killed. It wasn’t her idea but that doesn’t matter. Just the way it is. If it fails, it will be her fault. And they will find someone else to try again. Or not.

Either way, if it fails, she won’t be around to see what they do.

She looks at the pile of weapons and armor in the corner. The wooden shield, wooden club, mask and armor. Weapons she can wield with terrible power. How many has she killed with that club? How many more would she?

Her eyes go from the familiar to the new.

A curved stick with a line from end to end. Long and thin sticks with metal points on one end and feathers on the other. A leather carrier to hold the pointy sticks.

All taken from dead enemies.

All used with deadly accuracy on her people.

The pointy sticks, some of them came out of the carrier and some came out of the bodies of her people. Those are stained with the blood of her kind.

Part of her is looking forward to using the sticks on the enemy. Her people’s stained blood taking the life from one of the enemy. Fitting.

But that will not happen if she cannot hit the target.

She picks up the curved stick, unsure what the enemy calls it.

She has seen them use it many times. She understands the basics. Hold the pointy stick against the line and pull it back. Release the line and watch the pointy stick fly through the air. She knows the sound the pointy sticks make when they fly. All her people do.
Most of them have felt the sting the pointy sticks make. She has. She still has the scar on her right shoulder.

Taking the curved stick in her right hand, she feels that scar with her left. Puckered, ragged, old. Her arm had been almost useless for almost a full moon after that. It hurt to move but she had forced herself to. To do otherwise would have been to show weakness. That could not be. It still hurt sometimes but she was used to it.

Holding the curved stick in her left hand, she pulled the line back with her right, taking the posture she had seen the enemy take. The line was tight and was hard to pull back but she did, holding it close to her cheek. Taking a deep breath, she held it and released the line.

It made a vibrating noise, snapping back to its original position.

Easy enough, she thought but knew there was more to it. There had to be.

The tent flap opened and a face peered in. Beared, the eyes laughing. Male.

“They are ready,” he said.

She glared, wanting to wipe the smirk off his face. He was amused by this. Most of them were. Some even wanted her to fail.
To use the weapons of the enemy? That was weak. That was admitting the enemy was stronger.

She did not see it that way. Neither did the clan’s leaders.

Grabbing the carrier and pointy sticks she headed for the tent’s entrance.

This was not weakness. It was adapting.

The enemy and their skill with this weapon were responsible for many deaths of her people. They could be killed from great distances. What good was their strength, savagery and cunning when they couldn’t even reach the enemy?

Pushing through the leather flap she stepped out into the bright sunshine feeling the eyes of the entire clan on her. Both males and females. Glancing to her left she saw the clan leaders, all in their skull masks. A mask that she had worn and missed. She felt naked without it.

She had been given the chance to practice. Her first few shots had been with the mask on. They had not gone well. Far from the mark. Reluctantly she had taken the mask off and tried again. Still not good but better. Something about the way the mask sat, the thickness of the bone, had thrown off her aim.

Behind the masks the faces of the leaders were expressionless.

She pushed all thoughts of the skull masks and leaders from her minds. As well as the jeers and shouts from her people. They formed thick lines, all crowded together, on either side of her that extended down the open field forming a wall. She was at one end and the target at the other.

It was there, so far away. A body tied to a stake in the ground. It had been there for a over a day, just left outside. The screams of the dying enemy had lasted through most of the first night before fading away. It was dead. A good target. She had no idea how far away it was. The distance looked right, like what it was when the enemy was sending the pointed sticks at her people.

They were loud, her people, like always. They did nothing quietly. It was not their way. It was a distraction but one she had dealt with before. This at least was familiar. In battle there was always noise. A warrior had to block it out, to concentrate on the combat around them.

And she did.

The noise fell away as she held the curved stick in her left hand, her right fitting the end of a pointed stick into the line. Holding the stick with her left fingers she pulled back the line and held it tight.

She could feel the feathers tickling her cheek. Could feel the tension in the line. It wanted to be released.
Looking down the pointy stick she sighted on her target.

She could feel a slight breeze, the wind picking up, rustling the feathers against her cheek. Would that affect the stick well it flew? Most likely.

Adjusting for the wind and the distance, thinking the stick would lose power as it flew. She did not want to fall short, that would not do. When the enemy fired them it was with an arc.

Was there anything else she was missing?

Most likely but there was no time to figure out what. It was now or never and never would be her death coming that much sooner.

Taking a deep breath she made a slight adjustment. Releasing the breath she released the line.

The stick shot forward with blinding speed. She heard the familiar whistle through the air. She stood unmoving, watching the blur that was the stick streaking towards the target.

Silence fell across the field, all the orc’s eyes looking towards the end.

There was a loud thud like sound, the stick hitting the target.

She saw the end of the stick quivering, shaking with the impact. She smiled. The stick was through the leather armor of the enemy, penetrating deep.

With new respect she looked at the curved stick in her hand. With this she would kill many of the enemy.

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In the H.A.C.K.S. mythology there is no orc archer (at least not yet) and the females are the smarter (and meander) of the species. When I pulled this figure together I was thinking that the orcs were tired of the elves having an advantage with their archers so they finally decided to do something about it. They took from dead elves, scavenged arrows from the dead, and trained a female to be their first archer. They don’t know anything about archery, they’ve just seen the elves use the arrows to deadly effect.

The Orc Archer takes from the elves, not just the bows and arrows, but clothing as well. They believe that dressing like the elves will help them become archers.

The figure was made from what is called a “blank”, an unpainted figure. To the blank I added some armor pieces and weapons. Pretty simple as far as customs go, but still fun to do. Maybe someday I’ll paint the hair and eyes.

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