More Allies, More Enemies
September 29, 2014
The young warrior, Huth-allan-nith, set a grueling pace through the ascending forest. Jack could see the man putting him to the test, but it surprised him that he would burden the much older Mythcul with such a difficult pace. Yet each time Jack looked over his shoulder, the shaman remained in the same spot ten feet behind him.
Despite the raise in elevation, the heat still pummeled him and sweat flowed from his body in thick threads. This became somewhat balanced by the increased availability of water, but as soon as he drank, he felt it draining from him like his body was little better than a sieve.
Exotic birds mixed with smaller mammals that had no recognizable counterparts on his Earth. Certain bushes and trees would blossom as they passed. Brushing an arm against their flowers would cause a spilling of pedals in a rainbow of mismatched colors.
Jack had just finished climbing over a tree half as wide as he stood tall, when an emerald colored serpent rose up before him. He froze. The snake swayed as it eyed him with pupils that appeared to glow in the shadows created by the trees.
Mythcul paused on the other side of the log speaking in a gentle voice, but in a language Jack hadn’t begun to understand. The old shaman paused, looked again, and then began to laugh for some unknown reason. He spoke once more, but in a different manner this time.
A moment later the snake fell back to the floor of the forest and began to crawl toward Jack.
Jack certainly had no fear of snakes, hell he worshiped one and becoming a snake had saved his life more times than he could count, but something about this one sent chills down his spine.
He might have taken a step back, but Mythcul clamped a strong hand onto his shoulder locking Jack in place.
Jack looked on in silent apprehension as the snake curled around his leg and slowly climbed his body. A moment later it slid into his jacket pocket.
“Okay,” Jack said and he felt the serpent settle.
Mythcul laughed again, patted jack on the shoulder, and motioned for him to continue.
They hadn’t travel much more than eight miles from where he had picked up his serpentine hitch hiker, when Huth-allan-nith brought them up short.
Ahead of them loomed something that had no right to exist. From where Jack stood, it looked like someone had jammed two dozen arm sized branches into a pile of rocks and then brought the jagged statue to life. But when it turned its glowing red eyes his way and Jack felt a dread build inside of him. This thing is the size of a rhino and looks eight times as mean, he thought to himself while readying his spear, which he figured would be pretty useless against the thing.
And that was when the beast fled.
This confused Jack to the extent that he hesitated a moment, while Huth-allan-nith attacked. It didn’t surprise Jack when the man’s thrown javelin did nothing more than shatter on the monster’s back.
Mythcul stepped forward and thrust his hands toward the beast and almost at once it began to melt. Rocks became mud and the thick logs flowed away from its body.
“You’re using your Mold Nature spell from Yig,” Jack said a second before he used his own earth moving magic.
The rocky beast roared as it tried to flee, but proved no match for the twin blasts of Magick. Within seconds, it had become just another mound of earth on the forest floor.
Once it appeared safe, Huth-allan-nith walked over. He picked up a sharpened log that was once part of the beast. He showed the others its tip was covered in blood, before tossing the log away in disgust.
Jack scratched the back of his head. “Looks like a Gloom construct and that’s where I put my money, if I had anyone to bet with. But why would they send an earthen creature against a bunch of Yig worshipers. That doesn’t make much sense.”
Mythcul motioned Jack to sit while Huth-allan-nith patrolled the area.
The shaman made to sketches in the dirt. One looked a little like Huth-allan-nith and Mythcul drove the point home by pointed his brown feather at the man. The second picture appeared darker. The man had a concealed face.
Beneath these two drawings, he made an oblong figure covered with spikes. He pointed at the remains of the creature they had just fought and the drawing. He drew a line from this figure to the image of a man with a concealed face. Then under this he drew a new figure. With a wrinkled face and then placed two blood red berries over its eyes.
“So I was right, the Glooms made this creature and sent it out to…get these guys with the masks on.”
Looking down, he saw Mythcul drawing again. This time it was under the picture of the man that looked like Huth-allan-nith. A writhing mass was drawn that Jack didn’t like the looks of at all.
“Looks like some Lovecraftain nightmare,” he mumbled.
Under this monster he drew a feature that Jack knew far too well. It looked like the tattered form of the Creeper. A line went from this Creeper to the undulating mass to Huth-allan-nith.
“So the Glooms are creating these beasts to fight someone else,” he said with some hesitation, while the Caradon are sending these things against your tribe that favors Yig.”
Whether the older man understood him or not, he nodded and favored Jack with a slim smile.
“I this big unknown remains who this other group is.” Jack said, but Mythcul had gained his feet.
A moment later Huth-allan-nith was already leading them on.
Jack groaned a she forced his tired limbs up, but after taking one last look at the former monster flowing into the sands, he followed the young man in his trek deeper into the rising mountains.
To be continued next Monday