of bonfires and mourning choirs (pt 2)Mature

It was easier than it sounded, really – she’d done it more than once before.  The rotten beasts just continued to pop up all around, no matter how many nests she burned down.  Logical, since they laid thousands of eggs at once, always deeply underground – deep enough that even the dwarven mining machines couldn’t reach them.

Her whole body was bruised and scraped up, but she felt none of it.  All she knew was the sound of her own thunderous heartbeat pumping adrenaline wildly through her system, the acrid scent of blood and smoke in the air, the ominous press of night closing in around her.  She hadn’t meant to be out this late, not hunting spiderlings.  She’d have brought a few additional weapons if she’d thought she would see the sunset from the forest.  Other things would be harder to take down with what she had on her, and though it was a constant nagging problem in the back of her mind, she tried not to think of all the weapons she’d lost to the guts of other spiderlings.

She was long ago covered in sticky, putrid blood.  Her shirt soaked through with saliva that smelled remarkably like vomit.  Above her roared one of the monsters, a screech loud enough to threaten to burst Charlie’s eardrums, and flailed about wildly, snapping jowls at her with little success.  A cudgel clasped in her white-knuckled fists was the only barrier between her life and the spiderling’s desire to eat her.  The scent of burning corpses had drawn it to her, and upon the sight of seeing its children massacred, it had come at her full-force.  The others had been smaller, average sized, but this one gave enormous a whole new meaning.  Gargantuan, maybe, Charlie thought to herself, and grit her teeth in an effort to keep her arms from giving out.  Violently, the beast thrashed over her, wailing and snapping, rabid with grief and rage.   Still, it screamed - and there was something disturbing about it, something more disturbing than the sounds beasts make during battle, something more careful and deliberate.  At once, Charlie knew what it was: the beast was singing, or the closest amalgamation to it that its kind could manage.  It was wailing out a song of mourning.

One of its spindly legs lost footing briefly, an opportunity only open to her for a narrow millisecond, but Charlie was quick.  Shifting her body down, she curled her knees up to her ribs and pressed her heels against the rounded belly of her opponent.  It took a great wealth of strength for her to thrust her legs outward hard enough to send the spinderling reeling backward, but it sufficed.  She kicked herself up onto her feet and in the same motion, swung the baton with all of her weight, connecting with a crack against the beast’s face.  The sound echoed through the trees.  Riding her momentum, Charlie twisted her torso around for a spinning kick to send it onto its back.

While the spinderling struggled to get itself upright, Charlie twisted the cudgel in her hands and pulled the pieces apart, revealing two long blades that caught the moonlight as she brought them down to her sides, her body lowered into a defensive stance, waiting.

The spiderling lunged itself back onto its feet and Charlie prepared to lose even more weapons into the meat of another beast.  Launching herself into the air, she caught the spiderling mid-jump and cut the blades in opposing arcs along its throat.  Seperately, the head and the body hit the ground.  The ease of the kill surprised her, but everything became clear when she caught sight of the arrow still quivering from the force of its impact into the spiderling’s skull.  Her feet hit the ground and she whipped herself around to find the archer.  She recognized his silhouette immediately and the grin that pulled her lips wide over her teeth was genuine.

“Stryder, you glorious bastard.  I knew you were still alive.”

The End

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