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The Inevitable Herd


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The Inevitable Herd

Cynere's sword swung high then plunged down into the glinting metallic hide of the gorgon's abdomen. The gorgon let out a series of snorts and turned its huge horns toward it's assailant, bearing them down as it prepared to charge. A small stream of blackish blood flowed down its belly as Cynere withdrew her blade and jumped out of the way. From the top of the cairn on which Namirha had climbed in a hurried panic, a bundle of lights emerged and sped swiftly to their target. They broke into a small blast as they struck the infuriated bull-like creature. Cynere withdrew as fast as she could toward the cairn, her chain armor chinking with each stride of her pace. The gorgon gave chase, but in a somewhat limped or pained manner so that he could not gain much ground on his charge until finally pausing just before the base of the large rock. Namirha invoked his spell, forming his hands into a v shape while extending the pinky. A violent streak of bright, scattered bolts shot from his fingers and struck the creature as it let out a loud shriek and fell back. Namirha sighed for a second as he took a breath and prepared to see how the beast fared. Swaying on its bloodied, dirt encrusted hooves, the gorgon slowly raised and lowered his head as if trying to shake off a daze. A few more snorts and its rear legs fell to the ground. Namirha's face changed slightly from wide eyed concern to a calmer reassured smile. He gazed downward as the large body of the beast finally fell with a ground shaking crash, but not before a cloud of grayish green smoke emerged from its snout. "Stay back!" Namirha yelled. "It is said that they turn men to stone with their breath!" The smoke rose in the air, enveloping the base of the cairn and the surrounding ground then billowed outward. Eventually the smoke dissipated, revealing the broken, stationary creature lying in a pool of it's own blackish filth. Cynere stood peering from the back of the rock, trying to catch her breath while Namirha jumped down trying to gather his wits. "But don't these usually come in herds?" Cynere gasped between breaths as she tried to clean off her blade in the dirt. Namirha turned a stern gaze upon her, his left eyebrow rising. "Herds? You know that's a bad notion. Don't say that again!" He paused momentarily approaching Cynere. She looked up to meet his face, flinching slightly. "You remember that great being in the sky, the supreme controller of the universe I was telling you about? He likes that word. He'll put the "herd" on us!" Namirha paused and looked upward almost pleading in his thoughts then continued. "Herds...No, we should not wish for such things. Let us pray that no one takes note." Cynere and Namirha rose to leave, reshifting their gear and gathering their strength when a distant rumbling sound was heard, slowly growing louder. They stopped, eyes widening and turning to face the horizon. A row of many dark shapes could be seen moving at great speed, the dust from the broken land rising behind them. The shapes moved closer as the seconds passed. Cynere shook her head in disbelief. Namirha frowned.



Thanks to Erik Thornton for this contribution!


 


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