In which our hero tells of his hero

He awoke as the sun was retreating, ending its day. Timothy stumbled to his feet clumsily. This time he caught the chair, and could use it to pull him up. His head swam for a second, but then it was clear and the hunger began. Timothy had not had a chance to feed in days, nor had he been able to satisfy his hunger on the Man in the Inn. His stomach rumbled and the beast growled at him, as if to say 'that was a warning, now feed us, or we will do it again.' Timothy took several deep breaths, and returned to his work.

'They appeared in a long, dark cave, dimly lit a faint purple from no apparent source. Under this half-light, the group searched for their candles, enchanted by a long dead wizard to never go out unless the bearer wills it, and to never run out. With these in hand, they approached the First Corner.

The wall was covered in blood that glistened with a sickeningly bright green. The candles flickered and extinguished, leaving the group in a choking darkness. Suddenly surrounded by the sounds of otherworldly laughter and the sound of massive, nay, gargantuan teeth crushing bones, against all common sense, they ran.

They raced back through the vortex, and threw themselves back to their own reality.

They reappeared in the small cabin, perched on the snowy slope of Mount Kalgeran, in a large heap. As the unearthly growling followed them, Ladd retrieved the Quantum Junctionator, brushed it with the Sardonyx gem, which activated it and closed the portal. They all lay there; panting gently for several minutes, then Lord Sedition panted "we need a new plan."

"What do we do, sir?" asked Georgi, from the bottom of the pile, "and, could you please get off me, you're starting to hurt."

Dubious rolled off him and concluded "We should go back to Helaneth and plan our next move." He struggled to stand and gather their things as the blizzard ripped through the little cabin, threatening to rip it off its foundations. "Perhaps we should wait until the blizzard passes." Dubious sat down again, and began his long planning process.'

Timothy continued long into the night, attempting to bury his hunger in his work. He had a good feeling about this book, maybe it would be his first to be published. For hours Timothy concentrated on how his team had fought their way back through the freezing snow and treacherous terrain back to Helaneth, and now they finally approached the sprawling city by the sea.

'They ran up the last hill to separate their sight from their home city, laughing and carefree. The midnight mood was shining on them and they felt joyful. When they reached the crest of the hill, however, their mood sank instantly.

They looked out at the city, but not as they had known it. The moon illuminated all too well the supernatural happenings below.

In the sky above the city, another vortex had ripped through, and from it fell the trollish figures of the Phonoi. Smoke and flame rose from the city as clear as the panicked cries and bloodthirsty roars. Ladd, Lord Sedition, his second son Kaylen, his two colleagues Georgi and Marn stood and watched as the city burned itself to the ground. Within the hour, the cries for help stopped coming as one by one, the Phonoi killed the citizens of Helaneth. There was hope also among the shadows of refugees fleeing the city, but they were a pitiful handful compared with the amount who had once lived in the great city.

The five on the crest lay down until morning, as none of them could find sleep.

When finally morning came, they approached the city and the wailing mass of bodies that was the refugee camp. For now, they ignored it, and took a look around the city.

The first bodies they encountered were those of a single Phonoi, surrounded by a dozen dead guards. It had collapsed onto some poor soul's house, with the poor soul still inside. The Phonoi was indeed as terrifying as Ladd had described. It was indeed a huge, asexual creature with ebony skin as hard as marble, which was why it had taken a dozen men's halberds, hammers and swords to fell the beast. The halberds stuck out of each weak point in the beast's armoured skin, around the sunken eyes, which had been all but gouged out (but were probably once black), the wolf-like ears, one of which had been cut off and discarded in a side alley nearby, in the soft palms of the hands and feet, and one poor guard had completed a suicide mission to cut out the Phonoi's tongue and stab it in the back of the neck. In addition to this carnage, the beast possessed unnecessary tubes of soft black skin which resembled dreadlocks, sprouting from the back of their head and tumbled down their back, much like a head of hair. In their desperation, the guards had cut off some of these locks trying to stab it in the head, but their thick skull was too much for the blades.

After studying the gargantuan corpse, they proceeded straight into the heart of the city, where the vortex had been hanging so few hours ago. Here Marn drew his old warhammer. There were noises further in the city that Marn, silent Marn, seemed to think were the roars of the Phonoi.

As they reached the market centre they were confronted by the worst of the massacre. The Phonoi started there, there were dead guards scattered around the plaza, wares had been strewn around the cobbles and the fountain had been shattered, flooding the courtyard. In short, the market plaza was a mess of desolation. It appeared that they has started there and radiated outwards, leaving a trail of blood and rubble behind them.

The group travelled no further into the city, this new enemy was vicious and unlike anything they had ever seen before. The Phonoi terrified them, and they wanted nothing more to do with them. As they turned, to head back to the gate, the roaring got louder and louder. Through the last intact building surrounding them crashed a single, gigantic Phonoi. It roared and snarled and attacked them.

The group instinctively dodged as four massive claws scythed their way through the air and to their necks, and fled in separate directions. As its prey disappeared, the Phonoi looked around, somewhat lost. It looked northward as Marn leapt from a half-collapsed wall, and landed a powerful blow onto the creature with his hammer. When it was dazed, Kaylen darted in and stabbed at its eyes with his twin swords. The beast howled in pain as it struggled to save its sight. It clawed at its face, leaving superficial scratches in its own skin, but sinking deep into Kaylen's left thigh and right shin. He shrieked in his pain, and his father grabbed Marn's hammer and darted forward, bringing the beast low with a blow to each knee and one to the small of the back. Kaylen fell to the floor as the Phonoi screamed in pain and collapsed.

Dubious dropped the warhammer, and drew his own sword. He slashed across the chest, to make the beast roar, then dove into its mouth and drove his sword through the roof of the mouth. The Phonoi's scream was cut short as the blade sunk into its brain, killing it.

A crushing wave of silence rolled over the dead city when the beast lay dead at Dubious' feet.

"Now, we kill the rest." Dubious whispered.'

As the sun rose once more, Timothy began to reach the end of several months’ worth of planning and drafting.

As the days went by Timothy barely slept, he worked through the night and stayed up all hours of the day. The clacking of the typewriter became all too common in the almost deserted household. The finishing of this novel became his obsession over the several weeks he spent holed up in that house.

During that time, his hunger grew constantly. The morning he finished his novel, for example, the doorbell rung ominously.

Timothy slipped towards the door in a guarded manner, he was using all his self-control to keep himself and his so-called 'killer' instincts in check.

The man at the door was a spry dwarven messenger, with a black-enveloped letter. As Timothy opened the door the messenger handed him the letter and left, bowing.

He broke the seal on the letter, and began reading.

Dear Master Timothy Peg,

I regret to inform you that on this, the 2nd of February, your mother, was taken seriously ill at the Peg estate after collapsing. Despite the best efforts of Drs. Threeth and Ferenson, she sadly passed away during the night.

Your presence is requested for the burial, at the Pensinger Reginal Graveyard on the 6th of February, located in the heart of the Pensinger district.

Our deepest condolences,

Pensinger Reginal Funeral Directors.

Timothy held the letter in his shaking hand. His mother... was dead?

The End

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