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