Markus’ eyes snapped open. Something in the darkness had woken him. He had heard the sound of hurried feet; crackling the broken branches that lay on the forest floor. He remained motionless, and located his sword on the ground beside him. It was within an arm’s reach. There was another cracking sound. He felt Salla and Sedunga awaken next to him.
Ronan sat on his lookout position. His eyes were darting, attempting to discern the source of the sound. Markus sat up slowly, cast a glance around him and could see nothing but the dying embers of their fire. There came another loud crack, and something large moved into the clearing. Markus darted upright, as did Sedunga and Ronan. Sword in hand, Markus looked down at the ground, which had started moving. A spider the size of a wheelbarrow was running toward him. He slashed at it with his blade, taking its front two legs off. The thing kept coming, and more were entering the clearing. Ronan was hacking at one while Sedunga had dispatched of another with a well place arrow. Two more were bearing down on him.
Markus plunged his blade through his spider’s head and move to help Sedunga. He quickly killed one of the two, while Sed stabbed the other through several of its eight eyes. Salla screamed and the two of them turned. She was on the ground, with a spider on top of her. Its two front legs pinned down her arms, its back legs her legs. She couldn’t move. Sed shot it with an arrow, and it collapsed on top of her. Markus ran over and heaved it off of her body. He raised her head up, checked she was okay, and then gave her his hunting knife.
“If any more come at you, kill them”. Markus got back to his feet. Nanor was surrounded by three spiders. In two strides, Markus crossed the circle of firelight and attacked the spider behind Nanor. He removed two of its legs before the thing grabbed his blade between its pincers. It jerked and ripped the sword from Markus’ grasp. Then it launched itself at him. Markus wrestled with the beast, holding back the pincers to prevent them from closing around his neck. He felt his strength waning. He looked around himself. There was nothing within reach. He looked at his hands, and noticed his fingertips were blue from the effort. Suddenly, he felt new strength surge through him. He pushed outwards, snapping the pincers off the spider’s body. He heaved the beast off himself, grabbed his sword and plunged it through the beast.
Ronan had since killed the other two spiders, and was now aiding Sedunga with a particularly big specimen. Another spider launched itself at Markus, who ducked. The thing flew over him, and he sliced its underside as it passed. It landed on the fire in a mess of limbs, carcass and spilling guts. Ronan and Sed both battled a spider each; and another turned toward Markus. Before it could move, something dashed from the trees and slashed it in two. Markus spotted a girl standing where the spider collapsed, but she was gone again just as quick. A spider attacked him from behind and knocked him over. His sword flew from his hand. The beast was about to jab him, but it suddenly collapsed on him. The girl stood over him again. Markus couldn’t make out any of her features very well in the dark. She reached out a hand to pull him up, but the second their skin made contact, their flesh began to glow. She snapped her hand back, stared at him, and then vanished once more into the trees. Ronan and Sed came over to him and pulled him up.
“That’s the last of them” Ronan said. He quickly glanced around to make sure, and then looked back at Markus. “What’s the matter?”
“There was...a girl. She saved me from that one” he pointed to the spider beside them, “a-and then she tried to help me up, but when she touched me, our skin started glowing.
Ronan’s face changed in an instant. Sed just looked confused. “You were probably hallucination Markus, no doubt you are tired. You should get some rest. Sed can take next watch”. He walked away. Markus could sense Ronan was hiding something. The girl had not been a hallucination. She had been there.
“Go on Markus, he’s probably right. Get some rest”. Markus went back over to Salla by the fire. Ronan had settled down on the other side.
“So you’re already seeing other girls?” Salla asked as he lay down, “Am I that boring?”
“She was there, Salla. I didn’t hallucinate”.
“I believe you Markus”.
“And of course you aren’t boring”. They fell back to sleep in each other’s arms.