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Awakening in The Dark

    • 54 posts
    February 25, 2019 2:38 PM PST

                Her thundering heart felt as though it would reveal their hide in the dark. Its pounding was a war drum in her ears, one that would summon the abominations pursuing her into battle. Sweat rained down her brow as she labored to quiet her bodies demand for air with shallow breaths. Her head swam deep, and her body trembled with fatigue. She could not drag this Dwarf much longer- he was on the brink of expiration and little more than a taxing dead weight, but she would not abandon him while he yet lived.

    …Gods damn you! You should have listened to-

    A clack of stones startled her as it echoed through the walls of the corridor.

                Her eyes shot up, opening wide as she peered through the darkness to the mouth of the tunnel from which it came. A single torch burned just beyond the corner, casting a dim glow that danced weakly upon the wall of stone and crystal. This cave was far more oppressive than any Masani had ever encountered in the wilds, it was suffocating, and its denizens were equally as repulsive and vicious.

                Several tense moments passed as her eyes frantically searched side to side for any movement. She tried to listen, but her heart thundered too loud in her ears to pick out any subtle sound of their hunters. A few moments more lingered by without a sign before she relaxed; her lungs giving up the air that she had held unawares. Weak tremors afflicted her as the adrenaline had finally run its course. It left a deep chill in its wake, the kind that could not be remedied by cloak or fire, only time and calm. Her legs buckled and she felt the stone wall at her back. Its cold embrace felt wrong, but it welcomed her with support none the less, and she eased to the ground.

                Her eyes stared blankly down the tunnel where the torch burned, its light flickering soundlessly. A shiver ran up and down her spine as the cold crept its way through her body. She wrapped her arms around her legs and hugged herself hard to comfort her nerves just as much as keep herself warm. The metallic smell of life filled her nostrils as she lay her head upon her knees. Her leathers were soaked, though she no longer cared. There would be no return, her spirit was drained, Hirode was lost, and her body would never be given to the earth so that new life may grow. Her fate was the same as that of her companions. For this, she cried.

    “Masani..” A coughing deep rasp of a voice labored. “Masani, ye’ be here lass?”

    “…I… I am..” She said, raising her head, wiping tears from her face with bloody hands. “I’m here, Gruun.”

    “Ah,” a harsh wet cough echoed through the corridor “..Ah, don’ be cryin’ none ‘bout me lass.. Ye’ know ye’ll find another- Ye’ll find another ‘andsome charmer like me’self tah… Tah marry someday.”

     “Gruun..” she started while shaking her head

    She couldn’t stop a smile from breaking over her tear stricken face, followed by laughter that defied the grim demands of a bleak situation.

    “Ugh, Gods… You really are insufferable, you know that?” She said with a distressed chuckle.

    Her smile slowly faded into the silence that responded to her question.

    “Gruun..?” She whispered

                A horrific screech answered, echoing loudly down the walls, sounding as though it came from all directions at once. She leapt to her feet looking down the corridor where the torchlight fell. At that moment it gave her its final gift; a warning of shadows appeared on the wall. They looked like a parody play of rats wielding spear and sword. Though the truth was they were the size of a man, running on hind legs and frothing at the mouth with rotting dagger-like fangs. Worst of all was their stench; It wreaked of rot and disease. It was the absolute embodiment of unclean, and it lingered in the air within the cave that knew no wind.

                Masani turned to run deeper into the gloom. She knew not where her steps would fall, nor where her steps would take her, but it mattered not. Survival was all the instinct that she had left in her, it was all that carried her. Fate, on the other hand, had decided at that very moment to take a crueler turn than it already had- As fate tends to do. Her run came to a slamming halt against solid stone.

                She hit hard, and for a brief moment she could see all the stars in the heavens. The recoil of the impact sent her sprawling backwards onto the ground. The pain was excruciating, and the sensation of hot blood running down to her chest was drown out only by the overpowering taste of it in her mouth. She was snapped out of her disorientation by the sound of snarling and clawed feet padding their way towards her.

                Her heart was pounding and her mind raced; she flipped herself around and put her back against the cold stone, readying herself for the attack- one that never came. A deep, blood-soaked and broken scream tore through the corridor. It was the purest form of terror and pain she had ever heard, and though she did not see it with her eyes, she knew what the source of it was.

    “GRUUN!” She cried out in horror

                They had set upon him, and their feast had begun. Limbs were torn from his body, muscles from the bone, and entrails from the belly. His screams weakened into tortured moans, and the symphony of snapping bones, tearing cartilage, and smacking jaws grew ever louder until the moans were no more. She could not see it, but every noise was a brush stroke upon a gruesome canvas in her mind.

                At that moment, Masani felt something stirring inside of her. The tears had returned, and with them came something else entirely. She felt fury, anger, rage, all of that which had long been held back like an arrow, just waiting for the right moment to be loosed. She began to tremble, though not from fear, but from the power she felt coursing through her. Her heart thundered in her chest, heralding The Storm growing inside of her- The Storm that had chosen this very moment to awaken.

    This post was edited by Astartes31 at April 29, 2019 5:22 PM PDT
    • 54 posts
    February 25, 2019 2:53 PM PST

    Should there be any interest for a Part II, please let me know. I would be happy to continue with this piece.

    • 4141 posts
    February 25, 2019 6:05 PM PST

    Astartes31 said:

    Should there be any interest for a Part II, please let me know. I would be happy to continue with this piece.

    If you want to, then go for it! But I think this is well done. :)

    • 54 posts
    February 25, 2019 6:38 PM PST

    Haha, why thank you Baz, really know how to make a guy blush! And I reckon I would- But always nice if there is a small audience that wants to see it.

    • 602 posts
    February 25, 2019 9:01 PM PST

    Wonderfully dark tale, a great read. Thank you for the mental imagery. Kudos.

    Great interest here to see where the legend goes next. Sounds like Masani has been pushed over the edge. Nothing quite so dangerous as Mother Nature (or any powerful Druid) upset at vile beasts that just devoured her companion.

    Revenge for poor Gruun could be the essence of part 2... or perhaps not? Eagerly awaiting the next installment.

    • 54 posts
    February 25, 2019 9:56 PM PST

    Ah, Kumu you are most welcome. I am overjoyed to know you've got such interest! Well- after a review like that.. Keep an eye peeled for part two :)

    • 239 posts
    February 26, 2019 7:34 AM PST

    Really good job. Reminds me of some Salvator stuff. What happens next?

    • 54 posts
    February 26, 2019 1:28 PM PST
    Thank you Valorous! I've never read Salvator's books.. I'll have to take a look. Any suggestions or favorites?
    • 239 posts
    February 27, 2019 9:04 AM PST

    The Legend of Drizzt series in particular. 

    • 54 posts
    March 1, 2019 1:29 AM PST
    Cheers Valorous, I'll take a look :)
    • 272 posts
    March 2, 2019 10:51 AM PST

    Such a Grand cliffhanger. And I do so love it when writers aren't afraid of gore. Quite a start astartes! (sorry couldn't resist) look forward to more feasting on dwarves :)

    • 54 posts
    March 2, 2019 8:23 PM PST

    Larr said:

     And I do so love it when writers aren't afraid of gore.


    Good- I think it adds a lot more to a story! - I will aSTARTes the next part of the story soon :) haha

    • 69 posts
    March 4, 2019 4:35 AM PST

    Very captivating! Can't wait to read the next part!