The Beast

The Beast

A Chapter by Martin Erics
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Alysia's simple investigation mission turns into an unexpected bloodbath.

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                Trouble stirred in the forests of Lacuna, the largest of the seven kingdoms. Amidst the evergreen forests, and winding paths, a brown-cloaked woman hummed a cheerful tune, yet her childish voice did not match the size of her body. Though short, she greatly exceeded the normal size for a girl. She sat along the path, moving her sleeve-covered hands across the dirt. Soon, her humming came with lyric and the young voice began to sing.

                “Over the hills and far away, the shadows dance. The shadows play. Up the mountain, to where rocks erode, lies the shadows humble abode. Watch your step or you will fall… off a place without a wall.” She resumed humming the rest of the song as she continued to run her fingers in the soil. Staring at her from a distance were dozens of raggedy black-clad men. They did not appear to be soldiers, but their matching apparel disposed any notion of them being highwaymen. They were mercenaries, and all quite disturbed by this girl who appeared to have taken a great awareness to their presence. One of the men was pushed forward and beckoned to approach her, and so he did, but not without hesitation. Each step was filled with anxiety and fear. He had heard of someone much like the girl before them… they all did.

                Eventually he had stood right behind her. “What are you doing?” said the man.

                The girl had not bothered to look up and continued moving her hands in the dirt. “Iggys drawing. See?” The woman moved her concealed hand away and revealed a crude portrait of a bird. “Iggy made a birdie!” The man inched closed, gripping a hand on a sword by his side. He clenched his teeth behind the messy beard on his face.

                “You… killed Benjamin?” The man asked. Iggy turned her covered head and faced down at the body that she had been sitting on. The corpse wore the same clothes as the man who approached her, but Iggy only shook her head.

                “Oh, this isnt Benjamin, this is Mister. ‘Cause everyone is Mister if Iggy doesnt know if theyre not Mister.” She picked up the dead mans hand and held it into the air, “Iggy played a game… but he wasnt very good.” She dropped the hand and turned her shadowed face to the man before her, “Iggy thinks Mister is sleeping, ‘cause hes tired. So Iggy’s gonna wait ‘til Mister wakes up.” With the last perky words, she tilted her head. The man felt the need to back away. His encounter was with no child, no woman… no human. Or so he thought. Her personality, her form, it did not register to his mind.

                His brown eyes widened, “What… what are you?”

                The woman placed her hands at her hip, “Iggy is Iggy, sillyhead.” She giggled, “Mister is funny.”

                Immediately the man unsheathed his sword held it to her neck, “Youve killed one of the Red Raven mercenaries… do you know what youve gotten yourself into?!” He shouted.

                Iggy chuckled, “Mister wants to play a game, too? ‘Kay! Iggys ready!”

                “I know who you are, demon!” The man pulled back his sword and swung it toward her neck. Iggy ducked and rolled and retaliated with alternating blows. Her right hand met his side, another to his chest and again to his neck. Her arms lowered at her side. The man stood, paralyzed and shocked before his points of impact began to bleed. Punctures were made, though no one had spotted a weapon used, and left to slowly kill him as Iggy pushed the man to the ground.

                “Worthless…” Iggy said, but it was not her voice. Rather it was more fitting and more mature.           “Iggy, Ill take over from here.” said the womans voice. Beneath her cowl, she looked forward and saw the many black-clad men that circled around along the path and in the trees.

                “She killed Nicholas!” cried one of the men.

                “Get her!” cried another.

                “Youll pay for that, Alysia!” shouted a man, rushing toward her with a blade drawn.

                The woman turned at the sound of her name, and changed her stance. The man ran toward her, a claymore held high above his head. He swung his sword downward and Alysia moved forward in between his arms. There she stood face to face, yet before he could move he felt the twisting pain of a blade pierce into his stomach. His body was rendered useless and began to fall back. Alysia grabbed the sword from his hand and spun around and hurled it into the neck of another oncoming enemy.

“Kill the monster!” a voice echoed as two more men rushed toward her. Their ploy to outnumber her had failed as her agile, and limber body led the two men to clash with each other. Alysia dodged and avoided the repetitive swings until the two men were fooled into a mortally wounding each other.

                She turned her head, hearing the sounds of flying projectiles whiz by her ear. She held one of the recently defeated men before he had fallen and used his body as a shield against oncoming arrows. Alysia felt the impact of dozens and dozens of arrows through the body. One mercenary caught Alysia from an angle and shot her in the shoulder. She stumbled backwards, releasing her only protection. Another arrow struck her thigh. The Red Ravens stopped their volley and approached her fallen body. Alysia was on her knees looking down at the ground. Yet before any harm could be done to her a horn blew in the distance. With its echo Alysia looked up in its direction. Soldiers, mounted and armored rushed into the scene slaughtering every man that stood in their way.

                “Its Lacuna!” yelled one of the mercenaries.

The order was in vain. Wherever the mercenaries ran they were cut down by mounted army. Still the Red Ravens fought back with their many numbers. Truly it had been a bloodbath. Alysia had crawled away from the fray, leaning against a tree watching with dazed eyes as her wounds began to take their toll.

                Amongst the screams and clashes of metal a soldier ran up to her, his body entirely armored in blue and silver. “Alysia, are you alright?”Alysia said little and gestured toward the arrows in her body. She took concern for only herself. She gripped the arrow in her shoulder and forcefully pulled it out with a cry of pain. Taking only a short break, she did the same for her leg before resting once more. “As soon as we’re done, I’ll fetch a medic.”

                Before the soldier ran off, Alysia grabbed him by the arm, “This was supposed to be an investigation. King Reldren gave me no warning of mercenaries.”

                The soldier gently removed her arm, “I was no more aware than you were, Alysia. We were only sent to retrieve you when you were finished.” He stood up and ran back into the fray, “I’ll be back for you!”

                Alysia leaned her head toward the battle. Thoughts coursed through her mind. It had all been political. These mercenaries, these soldiers, even she had some part to play in an effort to counter their leader’s wishes. But she never had obedience in mind, only a bloodlust to be satisfied.

                The noises grew dull and muffled. The screams became mumbles and all the unrest was shortly ignored as she drew closer to losing consciousness. But before she could, a terrible roar had startled her and shattered her trance. It had seemed like the clouds themselves began to set the stage for what was to come. Thunder began to rumble, and lightning in the distanced illuminated the sky. But what seemed more potent than all of this was the creature that emerged from the forest. It had the shape of a human, yet prowled on all fours. Its form, large and muscular was covered in a black fur. Its hands and feet were like a bears claw, and flowing from its head was a long mane of black hair. An ape-like mouth, both fanged and large roared again, echoing through the forests. Yet the most fearful feature was its dark and narrow green eyes.

                It leapt about killing everything and everyone that stood in its way with one fatal swipe of its claws. It pounced and carved with no quarrel of prey, and what had been a war against two sides had now become a retreat for their lives. But none lived… not one. Only the injured Alysia, lying against a tree could witness the carnage as this monster had completed its genocide. The creature turned its gaze to Alysia and walked towards her. Her body was still, not from her injuries but the fear and terror racing through her blood. Her eyes widened, quivering with panic. The monster leaned in and reached for her face, gently caressing her cheek before a tear fell from its eye.

                It narrowed its eyes and soon fled into the darkness of the forest. Alysia was left stunned by her experience. The rain began to fall. The thunder and lightning grew harsh in the darkening sky. It was only moments before Alysias mind had shut down and she was left lying against the base of a tree.

 



© 2010 Martin Erics


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Added on June 28, 2010
Last Updated on July 5, 2010
Tags: Alysia, bloodbath, murder, monster, mercenaries


Author

Martin Erics
Martin Erics

Pawtucket, RI



Writing