Recap: When we last saw our band of heroes they had been diverted from their original quest of finding the evil Schneebedeckt and thwarting his evil plans. They now are desperately tracking their bewitched friend Chadwick, who is leaving a swath of blood in his wake. Today’s story is a bit graphic.
A little over a week had passed and Sir Graylen felt that they were no closer to finding Chadwick than when the centaur had first disappeared. In that time the unlikely group had come across so many maimed, tortured, or killed creatures. Any unscathed creatures regarded them with suspicion, fear, or anger. Graylen’s nerves screamed. He embraced the familiar feeling, yet couldn’t stave off worry as the queen remained powerless and Casington appeared to be in mourning. The only change had been Watsley. He no longer looked like a baby. He had grown about a foot. Graylen figured that satyrs must age like goats rather than humans. How else could Watsley go from toddler to looking ten or eleven in a week. He still woke screaming from his visions, but he was remembering them better, and starting to understand them. As sporadic and elusive as Chadwick was, Watsley was their best lead for catching him. Sir Graylen glanced down at the top of Watsley’s head, taking in the wild curls that horns were starting to peak out of. Graylen couldn’t even pick the kid up anymore; he was surprisingly heavy. A snap of a branch pulled Graylen out of his reverie. He was instantly on guard, his sword drawn. Watsley slid from the horse. He moved to the center of the group and stood by the queen. Casington had his bow drawn. No one moved. Minutes passed and nothing happened. Casington slowly lowered his bow, but the knight remained at attention.
Watsley’s eyes glowed a brilliant green, “The innocent are blamed for others’ fear and pain, the enemy is not who they seem, beware my friends, the scream.” he said, his voice barely above a whisper, but it carried throughout the clearing they had entered. As the last syllable faded, a roar tore through the air and their party was set upon by terrifying creatures. Fangs protruded from snarling mouths and they carried weapons made of long twisted hunks of metal ending in multiple sharp points. Graylen had never seen weapons that looked so dangerous. That thought had barely processed when the creatures attacked. With a mighty cry, Sir Graylen swung his sword and stuck the weapon of twisted steel. He pushed hard against his opponent and shoved it away from himself, and thrust the blade into the creature’s throat. It fell back with a gurgled scream, and he immediately turned to the next enemy. Casington shot his nocked arrow at one of the creatures and pierced it between the eyes. He charged forward and grabbed the fallen thing’s weapon, and slashed his way through the horde. Blood flowed into the Earth turning the dirt to mud that covered the dead and wounded. Pain filled cries swelled through the air accompanied by the ring of steel upon steel creating an frightful symphony. Blood dripped from Graylen’s arm where one of the attackers had slashed a nasty wound, rendering it useless. His small group of warriors was surrounded and tiring. He’d seen the others as he’d been fighting. The queen’s mount was protecting her, kicking the attackers, and stabbing them with it’s long horn. It was disturbing to see the pure creature dyed red with blood. The queen herself was covered in splattered gore, her beautiful gown now ruined and stained. Casington had cuts along his flanks and chest. He hadn’t seen Watsley though. Worry was pushed aside as Sir Graylen fought for his life, and the lives of his group. It felt like hours had passed before the last of their enemies lay dead at their feet. The stench of innards and blood filled the air, choking them.
Graylen searched the area but could only see the dead and his own wounded. “Watsley?! Where are you?” he called.
“I’m here.” a tear filled voice said softly. Graylen looked up and saw the satyr’s wide eyes looking down at him from a tree. He spurred his horse to move under the tree, and reached up with his good arm. Watsley jumped out of the tree and into the knight’s embrace, tears flowing down his face. Graylen understood the tears and held him close. Graylen remembered his first battle. He also, had wept at the carnage. In his nightmares, he is forever haunted by the screams of the wounded and the accusing stares of the dead’s eyes.
Now, without saying a word, Sir Graylen lead his warriors away from those terrible eyes.