Thursday, May 13, 2010

Through The Panther's Eyes - Weapon of Choice (Part 2)

When all else fails, sheer tenacity will be the difference between victory and defeat.  After listening to some fellow hunters and some lengthy contemplation, I could see no other way to defeat the Barroth than to upgrade my switch axe.  My colleagues made other suggestions: using a hammer, outfitting myself with a bowgun, etc.  None of them were right for me.  It was the switch axe or nothing.  So, I set out to obtain the materials needed, which proved easier than I first thought, once I knew where to find them.  I traveled to the humid wetlands of the Flooded Forest, fending off giant insects and hordes of savage Ludroth, to reap the bounty of ores from the depths of its marshes.  Once I had enough, the blacksmith in Moga Village worked his alchemical wizardry to give my switch axe the edge it needed.  One question remained: would it be enough to send the Barroth to its death?

I returned to the dry, brutal heat of the Sandy Plains, where the Barroth took refuge in its mudhole.  I soon drew the beast from its sanctuary into a struggle of life and death.  Fortunately, my switch axe was sharp enough to pierce through his hardened armor.  I had to be careful, though.  His head, which is the most hardened part of his body, dulled my blade too quickly.  I had to focus on his lower body, slashing away at its legs, cutting deeply into its flank and its underbelly.  Little by little, I whittled away at its defenses.  I finally found myself on equal footing with the beast.

For those who have never faced one, the Barroth has an impressive array of offensive and defensive capabilities.  At long range, the beast is prone to charging with the speed and force of a train at full steam (hurts like a bitch, too).  The Barroth doesn't charge blindly, either.  If you don't get well out of the way of its path, it will turn toward you to keep you in its sights.  Fortunately, the Barroth can't turn too sharply while charging, so just run away from the line of its projected path as fast as you can.

Even at close range, the Barroth can be dangerous.  Though not as deadly as its charge, it likes to use its head like a hammer and its tail like a flail to keep hunters from getting too close.  Should someone prove too much for it, the Barroth has one last line of defense: it cakes itself in mud, which not only protects the Barroth from some of the damage it takes, but also can be used to hamper an unwary hunter when it shakes off some of the earthen layers.  Only by continuously hacking into it does the mud seem to wear off.

Eventually, the Barroth was severely wounded by my onslaught.  At that point, the hunt became much more deadly.  When it wasn't constantly trying to evade me, either by burrowing in the mud or by facing toward me to keep me from its flank, it was stepping up its aggressiveness.  I may have broken a few ribs while fighting it.  I will give the Barroth credit, it refused to stay down.  Like I said before, this was a battle of tenacity to see who could last longer.

Both of us had taken a lot of punishment in this struggle, but it was my trusty switch axe that helped me deliver the finishing blow to the beast.  It fell in a violent convulsion before death stilled its body.  With a cry of victory and relief, I tore deep into the Barroth's body to claim its bounty.  In the end, I found my weapon of choice and it served me well.

Back in Moga Village, I asked the blacksmith to make a helmet for me out of the Barroth's armored plates.  I now wear the helm proudly as a testament to my victory over the beast and as a tribute to its strength.  I feel as if the soul of the Barroth has bled into me.  His tenacity feeds me as I continue to battle against even mightier foes.  With my deadly switch axe in hand, no beast is safe from my onslaught.

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