December 28, 2015
It took a long while for both pairs of poisoned Stalwarts to regain their ability to function. Dylla proved more serious when confronted by fiends trying to damage her forest and helped Jack burn down the rest of the evil cocoon of webbing with almost no attempts to get him to sleep with her.
He wasn’t sure if it was the sight of the near naked wood nymph fluttering past her every few minutes, but Tynilia was the first to regain her movement. She relaxed a bit once both Jack and Dylla were forthcoming with the update that Jack had not indulged in the dryad’s charms.
Soon the other men regained their abilities and Jack allowed himself the luxury of sleep. Tynilia slept with her head on his chest. Jack couldn’t be sure if it was because she was happy they were both alright or to keep Dylla at bay.
In the end, Dylla did get herself a Yig worshipper and despite their hardships and losing Vel-Linna, Jack had never seen Huth look happier. Sometimes you just have to treat yourself, no matter how much shit life throws at you, Jack mused.
Even with their pressing need for time, the team allowed themselves a couple of down days. He would have liked to rest, but they did everything but. Food and water was collected. Weapons and equipment were repaired.
With those days behind him, Jack figured his meager team would be as ready as they could be and gathered them all around their campfire. The sun played through the forest leaves as a small breakfast was shared. He looked from one companion to the other and then gained his feet.
“I suppose it’s time we were on our way.” A few groans were their only response. He sighed. “Our eight has become five unless I can convince you to join us, Dylla.”
“I can not join you, but I can aid you in another way.” Then before anyone could move or reply, the world became an explosion of color as the dryad used her spell to transport them through the forest as she had done with Jack several times before.
A minute later they were dumped on the ground at what appeared to be the edge of her forest. Before them snow covered peaks blocked most of the northern sky.
“This is a far as I can take you, but I have saved you several days of hard travel.” She looked quite pleased with herself and even allowed a smile to grace her petite face. “Just travel due north and you will start to see signs of the Lava Dragons. That is if you live that long. Now if you don’t mind, I would like to share a few words with Huth.”
Shadowknife and Stalker set themselves to ready the packs, while Huth and Dylla said a sad farewell.
While the others were busy, Tynilia drew near. “We’ve been through a lot already. Do you still think we can pull off the impossible?”
“Perhaps it’s because we’ve been through so much that we have a chance.” He put his arm around her waist. “Either way, we made it here and have no choice but to see this through.”
Worry owned her face. “Do you really think we can convince the dragons to help us against The Darken?”
“I guess I had better be, because we’re about to stake our lives on it.”
Thanks for following Jack’s adventures this year and return next Monday for the beginning of the climax of Jack Offworld Adventure
To be continued next Monday
December 21, 2015
As dozens of hard shelled, fist sized insects began to pour out of Vel-Linna’s mouth, Jack backpedaled toward the dead fire pit. At once he saw the error in that strategy as several insets headed toward the hanging forms of Tynilia and Huth. They made no sound and he could only hope that their unmoving forms still lived.
With a growl escaping his lips, he smashed his oversized axe onto the insects nearing him. He only killed one, so he held his axe sideways and smashed down with the flat side of the double headed blade. He got more this way, but many had avoided his blow and had almost reached him. Behind them came the stumbling form of Vel-Linna. Before he had thought she was dead, but her eyes seemed to blare with a red rimmed fury, as though the insects were her children and she hated Jack for doing them harm.
He still had his flaming brand and used that to help him keep the chittering insects at bay as he smacked down his axe again. Normally he’d try to backpedal out of the horrid cocoon of webs, but that would leave his lover and friend at their mercy. He also would have tried to use his Earth Magick to help, but he had drained himself of the majority of his mystic strength rescuing Shadowknife and Stalker from the Angry Ones.
“No magic, no help, hell this is like the old days.”
He continued to kill and beat the insects back, but he had a new problem. Besides the insects that struggled to find purchase on his retreating legs, the shell of Vel-Linna had curled its fingers into claws and was charging at him.
She was, or at least had been a servant of Yig, and despite himself, Jack hesitated. That proved enough for her to grab the front of his jacket and toss him, with unexpected strength, to the ground. He struggled to get up, but seconds later the insects were on him. He cried out as their crescent shaped pinchers cut through his leather into his legs. If it wasn’t for his protection of Yig and the hardened skin it afforded him, his legs would have been cut into ribbons of angry flesh.
He tried to bat them away, but his axe was large and the position awkward. Then the body that had once been Vel-Linna was upon him clawing at his face with one hand while the other fastened onto his axe handle and tried to pull it from his grasp.
He fought, but with the pain lancing through his legs, it proved all he could do just to maintain the grip on his axe. He cried out again as more and more insects slashed onto him.
Vel-Linna’s second hand stopped her clawing attack and latched onto his axe and with a strength beyond what her slight body should have possessed, she yanked it out of his grip. He looked on in horror as she raised it above her head. A wild eyed evil lingered in her eyes. She seemed to smile and that was when a huge beast crashed into her.
Even though the scene was thrown into chaos, Jack never was one to look away from good fortune and at once started to pull the insects off him. They clawed and bit as his hands, but he was strong enough to smash them against the ground with fatal results.
He moved faster and had killed most of the insects before Vel-Linna ceased fighting back. The mound of hair that mauled her looked more like a bear than anything else, but had the fangs of a saber toothed tiger.
Looking over at his allies, he saw that ravens and other birds were pulling the insects away from his friends and flying off with them.
Dylla appeared at his side as he put down the last of the foul clinging insects. “Looks like you needed my help after all or at least the help of the forest creatures.”
Sitting up, Jack said, “Indeed. I will be forever in your debt. But then again saving us might end up saving your world, so we’ll probably be even.”
She folded her arms. “Oh I think you still owe me, Stalwart.” He voice softened. “Perhaps while your friends are still feeling the effects of the poisons you and I can finally help repopulate this forest. I think your seed would prove to be quite strong.”
“Dylla…we’ve gone over this. Not that I wouldn’t want to, I just…”
“Save it Stalwart,” she said with a smile. “I’ll let you off the hook this time, but perhaps you can visit me on your journey back from the Lava Dragons.”
He sighed. “Yeah, that’s if we’re the first to survive doing what no one has done in a few millennia.”
He signed again. “You wouldn’t have any healing would you?”
“Sorry that is not part of my range of abilities.”
To be continued next Monday
December 14, 2015
The forest dryad, Dylla’s, spell dropped them a dozen yards outside of the parameter of his makeshift camp. As soon as his head stopped spinning, he realized something was wrong. It didn’t help matters that Stalker and Shadowknife both appeared to be still poisoned and remained unconscious. But he barely noticed their state as his eyes took in the horror that stretched before him.
Grey wispy vines clung to every branch and tree. From the trees they passed over his camp and attached themselves to the cliff face. It appeared to be a mix between a spider web and a giant cocoon and it radiated dark malign energy like spilled oil tanker.
“I’m starting to really hate it here.”
“Do not blame my forest, human. This evil arrived with your group.”
At her mention of the others, he attempted to scan the clinging mass for his allies, but found the grey filaments obscured his vision and limited it to only a few yards. “I see no sign of my friends.”
“If your mate has perished, would you then consider bonding with me?”
Jack eyed her while shaking his head. “Why does it seem like I’ve had to count you as my only ally lately?”
She folded her arms, which dislodged a few leaves covering her upper body. “I obviously appear to be doing better than everyone else you know.”
“I’ll give you that,” he conceded under his breath. While he spoke his eyes never left the tangles ropes of grey, but he could spy no sign of either friend or foe within its depths.
Looking back at her, he said, “I’m not sure I feel comfortable leaving two unconscious people out where without a guard. We haven’t been having much luck these days.”
“So you want to head in there alone?”
“Why you want to go in instead?” He asked while he readied his oversized battle axe.
“Oh no, I think not. Perhaps we should just burn it so it does not contaminate my forest.”
“My friends could still be inside there, so no.”
She threw out a hip. “Well how long should I give you before I burn the thing and then see if one of these men is friendlier than you?”
“I thought you didn’t like darksiders.”
She gazed at her nails for a moment. “You may force me to be less picky. Now off with you. We Dryads tend to get bored and flitter away or have you not heard.”
Jack grabbed up a long staff and bound twigs and leaves to one end by using some rope he had in his pack. “Yep, nothing’s more boring than a life or death struggle against an unknown evil with your friend’s lives on the line.”
* * *
Eight minutes later found Jack entering into the horrid web alone. As he suspected, the ropy vines cling to all they touched. He was forced to light his torch and slowly burn through the web to proceed. Dylla’s plan to burn it out would be no easy one, for the misty strands resisted burning and only the persistent application of the torch allowed him to continue.
He made it to where the fire pit had once burned. Its heat may have kept the central area cleaner of the web for it opened up and he made it to the rind of stone unimpeded. The pit itself had been filled with a huge amount of webbing. He figured something wanted that fire dead.
He scanned the foul cocoon in every direction and thought he might have spied two dark shapes standing out against the grey.
He made it a few yards towards them and then was forced to slow down and burn his way in their direction. He fought for each foot as the minutes dragged. Who knew how long Dylla could be trusted? Would she try to burn him out or just wander off?
He focused on the task before him. He had moved within ten feet of the clinging forms before he saw there were suspended bodies. One appeared to be Huth, while the other, while obviously female, still had her face covered too much for him to make out which of the women it might be.
He cursed every wasted second as he fought through the webs toward them. Before he reached the pair he saw they had been paralyzed. “Damn it, why is everyone in my party either dead or poisoned.”
Then a shape appeared. It moved through the web as easily as if the strands were just wisps of fog. Staring red eyes regarded Jack over a blank flaccid expression. It was Vel-Linna, but in body only. Hundreds of small coin sized insects scurried over her small form. Her body had become bloated with them and where her stomach once was had been replaced by a red stained bundle of webbing. Fouler that that were the little chittering things that traveled in and out of the sides of her skull.
Vel-Linna was dead, but somehow the freakish little creatures kept her animate. Jack took a step back and that is when the body opened its mouth to scream, but instead of a cry dozens of black multi-legged insects poured forward and sped his way.
To be continued next Monday
December 7, 2015
When the troublesome Dryad, Dylla’s, spell ceased to whirl him in chaotic circles, Jack found himself dumped onto his hands in knees within what he guessed to be the hollow of a mighty tree. Furs and flowers mixed with multi-colored glass jars and pillows of moss. Bright green vines covered the walls and small candles burned in shallow recesses.
As Dylla turned toward him, the leaves covering her nimble body fell away leaving her delightfully feminine body exposed. Her skin had a green tint and her voice dripped with seductive intent when she said, “Mmmm, I’ve finally got you alone. It’s been quite a while since I’ve had a real man within my den, let alone one as appealing as you.”
Jack hurried to his feet while saying, “Well, not having a door might slow down the number of visitors you receive, but where are my allies? You said you brought them here.”
“Oh them. Not a concern. They are still paralyzed by the Angry Ones darts. I have them safely locked into pens where I sometimes tend to sick animals.” She approached until her warm body pressed against his. “They are of no concern to us. Their condition will last long enough for us to at least start the fun we can share together.”
“You aren’t making this easy are you?” Jack said, as he felt himself growing flushed.
“This can be as easy as you like.”
As Jack tried to remove himself from her ample form, he said, “That I don’t doubt. You seem to be quite easy.”
“Oooo,” she said, growing angry. “And why are you making this so hard? I’d like to be exploring how hard you can get in a different manner.”
“I’m sort of seeing someone right now.”
“What, that darksider girl? I thought servants of Yig embraced nature.” She batted her eyes. “I’m part of nature. Embrace me.”
“Ergg…in most ways, there’s nothing I’d rather do. You’re quite beautiful and alluring and I’m well know for…spreading my seed around, so to speak, but I try to be a one woman at a time man and it’s quite possible that my friends I left back at our camp could be in trouble. I would never forgive myself if something happened to them while I lived the high life here with you.”
Moving away, she crossed her arms under her quite naked and ample breasts. “We dryads tend to be solitary folk. We wouldn’t know what having friends in this manner would entail.”
“Well then I’m sorry for you.” Moving closer to her again, he took her into his arms for a gentle hug. “Perhaps you could be our friend now.”
Once in his arms, she looked up. “Mmmm, have you changed your mind?”
“Dylla…please. We could really use your help. If you help us, you aren’t just helping a few people, you’re helping our quest. If we don’t succeed, you will lose your forest and then your world. We’re on the same side and we need your assistance.”
She appeared to find a resolve. “Very well then. I agree to assist you warrior of the wood. What would you have me do?”
“Getting us all back to my camp would be a pretty good start.”
Leaves formed over her body once more and she gave him a playful smile before once again his body became a swirling of colors and he was magically transported through the forest.
To be continued next Monday