Volume III, Number 5
TITLE: "Encounter with a Giant Feral"
SUBMITTED: The 18th Day of the 1st Month
AUTHOR: Odesseus of S'Kour
A dense fog hung over the north forest creating an unnatural hush. My steps crunched loudly in my ears as I wearily headed back toward town. Feral hunting can be profitable and fun, but doing it solo can sometimes take a toll. As it was, I needed a heal badly and blood oozed from several wounds.
Suddenly, the beast exploded into a leap at me, all fur and fury! I twisted away, but not before I felt its immense teeth grate against my ribs. Fiery pain shot up my left side. I lashed out with my sword and gave it a glancing blow to the shoulder, not enough to injure it badly, but enough of a hit to cause it to back away.
Up ahead, the snap of a twig and a loud sniffing sound froze me in my in my tracks. I slowly drew my sword as a dark shape started to coalesce in the fog off to my right. As it approached through the fog it became a very *large* dark shape. This was not just any woodland creature... it was a Giant Feral. I held very still, hoping the enormous creature would pass me by. I was in no shape to try and solo such a huge beast.
It continued padding past me, seemingly unaware of my presence. I thought it would not see me and relaxed a bit as it started south. Just then it pulled up short and sniffed the ground. A low growl sounding like thunder reverberated in its throat. I think it smelled some of my blood... I tensed...
Breathing hard, not taking my eyes of the monster, I sheathed my sword, pulled my axe from my belt and slung my shield onto my arm. The beast paced in front of me, growling and whining. Blood flowed freely from its left shoulder. My side throbbed as I raised my axe. Chil'tak! Those teeth were huge! The fangs were as long as my entire paw.
Unexpectedly, it lunged straight at me, its size belieing its incredible speed. Using both paws I desperately jammed my shield under its chin, its jaws snapping shut just inches over my head with a sound like a breaking log. With my shield raised, however, it managed to rake my chest with one of its huge paws, the claws shredding my tunic and rending bloody gouges down my front. I let go with my left paw to swing the axe under and down and gave the beast's left paw a solid blow. The feral yelped and jumped away.
Circling me, limping, it knew I was in a bad way. Saliva drooled from its maw as it growled at me, its beady eyes filled with horrible intent. Bleeding badly, feeling my strength ebb, I knew I needed to out-think this monster, as I was surely no match for its strength. Watching it favor its left leg, I formed some of a plan.
The monster and I circled each other until I was positioned in front of a tree. With a roar, I lunged at it. The beast stepped back a bit, momentary startled, but immediately counter attacked. I had counted on this. I jumped back to the right side of the tree, the monster leaping after me, but I then quickly circled back around the tree and struck at its wounded shoulder. This time the axe landed solidly, and guided by my training with Darkus, dealt heavy damage. The creature turned to leap away, but I swung again, landing another solid blow into its flank. It let out a piercing scream as I jumped back to recover my balance.
Now, I thought, I had the beast. I ached from head to foot, blood running down my side. But I could see the creature was also in great pain. Bleeding and limping badly as it paced a distance away it looked quite the worse for the battle. Whilst standing there congratulating myself and surmising how to deal the final blow, the feral charged me! It caught me flat-footed and bowled right into me, head down, butting me in the chest, knocking me to the ground. Possibly because of its own wounded condition, the feral kept right on going and fell a few yards behind me.
Dazed, the wind knocked out of me, I tried to sit up, to gain my footing. The feral was doing the same. My head spinning, I cast about for my shield and axe which had been knocked free in the feral's last-ditch attempt at killing me. Nowhere to be found. The feral growled as I tried to rise to my feet again. Dizziness overtook me and I sank to the ground, feeling faint. I am lost, I thought inwardly. The feral struggled to its feet, its eyes glowing.
I felt a slight warmth at my chest. It spread outward, giving me some strength, some hope. I reached up to my chest feeling the pendant under my jerkin, remembering. Heccacia's stone... she said it would help protect me. With renewed hope came a clearer head. My sword! I still had it! Clumsy with fatigue, I frantically pulled the sword from its sheath and held it before me.
With a sharp bark the feral made its move and lunged. I looked up to see the dark form descending on me and I desperately held up my sword with both paws. The sword struck hard, the shock making my arms numb. The great weight of the feral landed on me, knocking me senseless.
Finally coming to, I sat up. I was weak, battered, bloody, but alive. Looking to my left, the feral's body lay on its side, my sword hilt protruding from its chest. Gods, it was huge. I rose unsteadily to my feet and pulled my sword from the feral's chest and sank back to the ground. The beast gave out a final, quiet sigh and all was still. From the fog echoed a single, mournful bird call.
After a while, a healer happened upon the scene as I sat there resting. "Good, gods!" he exclaimed, "What in the Abyss' name is that?!" "One heckuva big dog," I replied with a grin. He brought his moonstone close and I felt the warm wash of healing flow into me. "I'll say," he continued, "You kill it?" I nodded. "Wow. You must be some great warrior," he said as he stowed his moonstone, the healing finished. I closed my eyes and projected the karma I had available to him.
I rose and spotted my shield and axe several yards away from where the feral had knocked me. I turned and smiled at him. "Nowp, no great warrior am I" I replied, "Just lucky." I reached up and felt the stone beneath my tunic. "And I had a little help."
I gathered up my shield and axe and with a wave, headed to town.
TITLE: "Prophecy and Puddleby"
SUBMITTED: The 8th Day of the 5th Month
On one of the last days of summer, 537, unconfirmed sources say that Sephorus, Looloo, and Crippler were fallen in the mountain passes when Sephorus was overtaken by a prophecy. He warned of the Greymyrs abandoning their peaceful ways and invading Puddleby. All present no doubt had a hearty chuckle over the thought... but had they known what was to come, they would have wept instead. At the same time, Anya, Shepherd, and Oldster were out and about in the East Forest, when they encountered a lone Greymyr. Thinking it odd that one had left the mountains, they tried to get a closer look- and Shepherd received a bone-jarring whack from the myr's mighty stone pinkie finger that barely left him on his feet. There were others in the woods that day, too... and Looloo had fallen to a small rock, the kind that the myrs toss. Was this the same one that had felled the exiles in the passes? What caused it to wander to the East Forest?
Bringing it down was no easy task. Observers commented that it could throw rocks at a rate never before seen, more than 2 every 20 seconds... few could even touch the monster without falling to its sledgehammer fists. The battle waged for hours, and it took just as long to clean up all of the smeared remains of those who got too close to the moving mountain.
The three exiles, knowing nothing of the warning of Sephorus, began to run west, but slowly enough that the Greymyr could follow. It would be fun to take it to town, they thought. They knew not that this would turn out to be an exceptionally powerful Greymyr... after all, noone present could even touch it! A myr could not be felled by a few exiles, not even Al Capone wielding Gurgi!
As the rocky giant stumbled and rumbled into town, Permits began suggesting that it be put in the zoo. But soon the word got out, and a plague of exiles showed up to bring it down.
Oddly, Oldster disappeared shortly after leading the beast to town. Was the massacre his plan all along? Was Sephorus blessed by prophecy, or did the gods hear his words and respond with the invasion? Was this all a coincidence, or would the Greymyr have come to town without the help of the exiles who led it there? This reporter will remain anonymous, because of the dangers of asking such questions.....
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The Dwarven Militia
Copyright © 2001 Philip M. Sokolov
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