Devryn - Chapter 10 "Something Gained"







Devryn - "Something Gained"

Blinding white light filled my vision as flashes of excruciating pain shot through my body.  My lungs screamed for air, fighting to recapture my lost wind.  Why me?  Things are always so difficult.

The first drag of air included the dust that swirled about, dense and choking.  A coughing fit brought me back from the edge of panic.  The years of training did not prepare me for this, the simpler moments of fear. 

The white went to black, to dull grays.  I laid on my back in a room lined with cubbyhole walls, some stuffed with what I would guess as rolled parchment and the such.  The shattered remains of the table that took the brunt of my fall lay scattered about.  Just hope the fall didn’t break me. 

Wah… wait.  I can see!  It should be pitch black.  “What the…?”

A squeaky voice answered, “Lucky you.  You’re still alive.  Didn’t know if you’d make it.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence.”  My mouth was filled with grit and the taste of blood.  My tongue probed a split lower lip.  “Tell me, oh wise lil’ shit, why I can see.”

“Seems your lovely tattoos aren’t only for decoration, you dim-witted ape.”  The imp sat on the edge of a nearby table scratching its ass.

“Cut the crap.  What’s going on?”

“Hmmm…  Not sure.  Guessing you are running cause you pissed off some crazy elf bitch.”  It paused, looked at its finger and sniffed.  His muzzle cringed.

I pushed myself up, brushing the brittle shards free of my clothes.  “You said I called out.  The only call.  Called out what?”

“Hraxendeka.  The tower.  It called.  You called.  No one has tested in over a century.”  His crescent fingernail tapped at his temple as he looked to the ceiling.  “Maybe longer.”

Bits of dirt started spilling out from above.

“Oh, our friend is almost here.”  A faint giggle replaced his form at the table’s edge.

Adrenaline kicking in, I pushed myself up, looking for anything to defend myself.  Sets of long, dust-covered glass cases filled a few of the shelves.  The first was empty but second held a curved Tressian shorts sword.   Flinging the glass off, my hand grabbed around the rotted leather bands that wrapped the hilt. 

Instead of the thundering crash I had the joy of experiencing, a mass of fur and claws adeptly landed where I once lay.  It’s massive badger head swung my direction, hissing forth its contempt. 

That’s one big badger.

Flipping the table that separated us, I crouched, ready to strike.  The moment was short-lived. 

The beast barreled forward, crashing into the wood.  It barely held together, splintering at its weakest points.  A massive claw broke through, grabbing at the ground, tearing at the rock.

The badger paced backwards, then charged again, pushing the table and me against the wall.  Thanks to the legs, I wasn’t quite pinned.  With a swift stab downward, I glanced its shoulder. 

A squeal of pain and it retreated to only pounce headlong again.  The impact slammed me against the cubbies, racks breaking apart in an avalanche of broken frames and crumbling parchment.  Again, another swing.  The dense fur repelled the sword’s edge.  The awkwardness of my crouching behind the disintegrating table was not helping.

Adjusting my precarious position, I rolled the hilt in my hands, pointing the blade downward.  The rabid monster pushed against my makeshift barrier, the table shattered in half from its continued clawing.  With a practiced jab on the other side of the table, the blade slid across the badger’s neck.  An immediate spray of blood was a great sign.  And it proceeded to gush forth, soaking the immediate area as it flailed its head about. 

Weaker strikes at the failing wood were enough for me to push back, freeing my legs.  Eventually, it slowed, breath slowing to a wheeze.  With a grunt, the bloody furball winked out of existence, quick pop sound echoed.  Funny how its blood that covered me didn’t.

Trying to get some leverage, my hand punched through the wall as I tried to clear myself of the debris.  Looking closer, the small section was plastered over, meant to hide something.  Inside sat a scroll wrapped around a gold-ringed roll, about a foot long.  Pulling it out, I could sense the immense power surrounding it and an odd tugging sensation, as if a suffocating force was pulling at my soul.

“Oh, tasty.”  The imp now rested on the upturned table’s edge, running its finger through the fresh blood.  “Find something?” its eyes looked into mine, licking its wet finger.

Devryn - Chapter 9 "Forgotten Times"






Devryn - "Forgotten Times"

The crawlspace pushed tight against me as I wormed myself backwards, feet-first, elbowing my way awkwardly.  Pointed rocks stabbed into my back and sides, the grit rough on my hands and forearms, the sense of an earthy weight pressing in.   Fear of capture fed my quickened, painful pace.

Footsteps rushed towards the entrance that now appeared a good distance away.  It slightly winked like an eye of white light as shapeless forms moved across the opening.  Staring forward, watching for someone to climb in, the imp’s murky-colored skin threaded together into existence, from empty space to a silhouetted frame inches from my face.

“Here!  Look around.  He’s hiding somewhere,” a guttural voice echoed towards me.

I pushed backwards, inching further into the darkness.  Tiny, clawed hands pushed on my forehead as if it would help.  Slide, slide.  They are looking for your ugly, monkey face. The oily words filled my brain.  He's such a little prick.

“Sergeant, a tunnel,” an out-of-breath voice said as a portion of the light source became blocked.

“Possibly an air vent into the lower section.  Stupid bastard,” said a gruff voice, followed by a chuckle.

Shen Oni,” spoken in unison from several voices now outside the entrance, followed by scuffled steps.

“Where is he?”  The venom in the words stung.  She was there.

“He went below.  This area sits over the lower levels, from what I would guess.”  There was a pause.  They will get him.”

Her voice cracked with her mounting anger from this chase, “WE will get him.”

“But the Shen Oni… the ‘eaters’…”

I couldn’t see what was happening but the hair on my arms rose as murmurs filled the darkness.  Sound became dampened in my crowded world, like holding my head under water.

The stillness broke.  Faint sniffing.  I held my breath.

 “You think you should fear the ‘eaters’…?”

Another pause.  No sounds of disobedience from her order, only boots racing away… and a low, deep snarl.

Her voice, clear as if she laid next to me, “Here is something for you to run from, child.”

The light became nearly blocked, a large swell of fur obscured my limited view outside.

She has a pet?

Grunts and the sound of the earth being sundered begged me to be quick to discover where this hole leads.

A determined pet.

I continued my backwards crawl but found my escape was dropping out from under me.  My legs now extended over open air.

“Shit.”

The creature was making some major progress.

Down.  I said down.  There is a forgotten city below.  Fate has brought you to its doorstep... or poop hole, whispered across my brain.

I scooted until my lower half hung down the side of a rock face.  My boots struggled to find purchase on its surprisingly smooth surface.

You never listen…  In the dimness, the imp pursed his lips, drew up his hand, and blew a kiss.  A dense gust of hot wind pushed me from my precarious perch, sending me over the edge.

Damn…