“What are they?” Bruad asked. He had followed Deadrick for a while further, much to Deadrick’s dismay.
He was referring to the bustling group of odd creatures in front of them. They were tall, four legged beasts with long, bony wings. They mooched along the canyon floor, forcing past each other to find sprouts of the assorted moss that grew in the damp crevasse.
“They,” Deadrick told him knowingly, “Are Clawrets,”
They were hiding behind a huge rock a few feet away from the creatures. Deadrick was whispering, trying not to alert them in any way.
They looked rather fragile, but anyone who was informed on them, such as Deadrick, would know that they were incredibly strong, able to lift things up to three times their own weight. They were perfect for a one-way trip to the surface.
“Go and get Nerui,” Deadrick whispered, removing three lengths of rope from his coat, “We’re going to wrangle us up some Clawrets,”
“They’ll scatter the moment they spot us,” Deadrick told Nerui and Bruad, who had both followed Deadrick’s lead and knotted their rope into a lasso, “So don’t think about it, find any one and hook it,”
Bruad had fetched Nerui, and had come back carrying Danyel over his shoulder. They nodded, and Deadrick peered past the boulder. He counted to three, and prepared to push himself up.
Before he had the chance, the Clawrets were suddenly spooked, cawing and screeching at each other. They burst into life and shot upwards.
Deadrick exchanged looks with Nerui and Bruad, and went to peer over the boulder. There suddenly came a huge crash as the massive rock was flung away, accompanied by a deafening roar.
The trio dived away as Deadrick glanced a black pair of eyes, surrounded by rough, leathery skin.
He landed on his feet heavily and drew his gun. He eyed up his attacker.
It was a monster by all accounts, with stout legs the width of tree trunks, that lead up to a vast body protected by a shiny shell. Its head was hideous. Its eyes had no pupils, and resembled deep pools of black water. It had wide nostrils and a huge mouth filled with row upon row of razor sharp teeth.
Deadrick knew what it was. It was Huth Feeder. They lived in deep dark places and fed on… well, anything.
It roared again, the sound echoing around the enclosed space.
“Deadrick!” That was Bruad, “What do we do?”
Deadrick watched the beast; it looked like it was preparing to charge. He could think of only one thing.
“Kill it,” Running forward and throwing himself up the canyon wall, barreling over the top of the Huth Feeder, he pulled the trigger of his gun several times, but the bullets bounced harmlessly off.
As he landed, he heard Nerui yell. She had managed to plant herself on its head. She unsheathed her dagger and jabbed it downwards, her eyes opening in shock as the steel struck the armored skin, but didn’t enter- sending a jarring pain up her arm, causing her to lose her grip.
As she rolled away, a snarling figure took her place atop the beast’s head. Bruad howled, and began tearing at the Huth Feeders eyes. He dived away, and the three watched as it cried out in pain, stepping randomly about, blinded.
Just when they thought they had gained the upper hand, the scarred and bloody skin around the beast’s eyes began to close in on itself, healing around a new set of eyes that seemed to form in seconds.
The three barely had time to jump away as the Feeder charged again.
Deadrick lost his footing as he landed, his foot twisting under his weight. He slammed down hard on his palms, trying to protect his face.
Huth Feeders were mysterious creatures. They were only occasionally spotted by bands of Dwarves who explored the deepest regions of their homeland. Nobody knew much about them, other than that they were big, hungry killing machines. Deadrick certainly didn’t know that they could heal themselves
He dived again, avoiding another rampage from it. His weapons were almost useless against the beast- a grenade would probably damage it, but would most certainly cause a cascade of rocks from above to fall on them and bury them alive- at that moment, it was all he could do to stop himself getting caught under the monster’s huge feet.
Nerui watched from a safe distance, she and Bruad had retreated. The creature seemed to only be going for Deadrick. The only reason she could think of was that it saw him as the greatest threat.
Nerui looked at her blade, it needed smelting back into place. The force behind it when it had struck the creatures skin had actually made the steel bend. She glanced around; Deadrick didn’t look like any sort of threat. He was diving over and away from the beast, trying to avoid any attack. He occasionally fired at it, but the bullets were useless.
Then, she saw it. A few metres above it, the flat rock wall seemed to break into a bunch of boulders that were loosely held together. She had an idea.
She yelled across to Deadrick, who glanced back. She pointed at the precarious rocks and he nodded.
She ran forwards, as Deadrick led the beast directly under the boulders. She yelled, throwing herself up the wall. She drew her blade and dug it into the loosest part of the rocks. As she landed, she heard a crumbling sound, and she smiled as she turned back to see the rocks falling like lumpy liquid.
Deadrick barely managed to throw himself out of the way as the boulders crushed the Huth Feeder, making it cry out in pain.
It was completely trapped, and could do nothing as Deadrick strode up to its head, placed the muzzle against its eyes, and fired.