A hiss left the miqo’te’s mouth as she swiftly dodged the morbol’s attack, the long slimy green tentacle scoring a deep impact dent into the ground. The creature’s frustration was apparent, despite the lack of any humanoid physical features. Its numerous limbs flayed and smashed the forest’s plant life in every direction; ancient trees showed countless gaping wounds which leaked clear sap. While their younger brothers and sisters lay smashed apart, denied the chance to become testimonies to age like their larger counterparts. The soft, warm, sunlight filtering through the thick canopy above was in stark counterpoint to the life-or-death struggle that was currently taking place under its heat.
The nimble cat-like creature had managed to evade the other creature’s wrath so far as proof its slimy, yellow-green rubber-like flesh was marred with small burn marks. These appeared to be minor victories; the damage appeared superficial and served to only increase its opponent’s aggression. In the battle’s current incarnation there was only one possible end; one that did not sit well with the miqo’te, as she was particularly fond of living.
She knew only a miracle could prevent it; so she had to last as long as possible to give that miracle all the time it needed to arrive.
Foam sprayed from the other creature’s enormous, cavernous mouth filled with sharp, needle-like teeth. Teeth, those were as long as the miqo’te’s arm, which stood in three rows, waiting to puncture her body and release the life-giving blood held within. A task they appeared to be more than apt for. She found it funny, though, how much the creature resembled a giant sunflower; vastly mutated and grotesque but a sunflower nevertheless. If sunflowers had mouths instead of seeds, two giant eyes on stalks coming out the top and long tentacles it used to walk around and crush miqo’te with.
Another quick leap and roll prolonged her precious life once again; all to the sound of stormless thunder. Rolling into a crouching position, she pulled out her weather-beaten, travel-sore wand and let fly a magical dart; its semi-translucent glow streaking through the air and striking one of the eyeballs-on-stalks. A sound so unhumanoid, that the miqo’te would never be able to describe it beyond the words “spine-shivering”, poured out of the monster’s gaping mouth. Bright yellow ooze leaked from a singed hole in the eye; mixing with its natural off-white colour to create a chalky colour.
Think my chances of surviving all of this has just gone from nil to snowballs-chance-in-a-volcano, the miqo’te thought to herself. The scared miqo’te used the morbol’s momentary rage-induced blindness to dive behind a heavily-wounded, ancient oak tree. Crouching behind the giant tree, she tried to catch her breathe; attempting to bring her racing heart-rate under control and calm the hyperactive nerves throughout her body.
The carnage being caused by the morbol behind her sounded intense; the beast’s fury at the damage to its eye seemed to only be increasing and the forest was paying dearly for the insolence. The sound of branches snapping and crashing to the ground filled in the silence between the thundering of full-grown trees being uprooted and tossed around like toothpicks. Quite a few of those thunderings sang out from her current bodyguard, as its brothers and sisters met with violent collisions. She knew her hiding place would not be safer for much longer; the time her miracle had to show its face was quickly drawing to an end, and with it, her life.
Taking a deep breathe, she tried to calm herself one last time before her struggle against the morbol kicked into round two. She knew in order to come out alive she would have to be clear-headed and more nimble now so than at any other time in her life. Her considerable courage had been tested and punished in this encounter, more so than in any other point in her short but considerably difficult existence. She had been through a lot and she would be damned if she let some overgrown weed end it all. No, she wasn’t ready to die. Not like this. Not now.
As her determination finally gave her the strength to calm herself, the tree behind her shook with a terrible crash; a down-pour of leaves rained upon her. She knew it was time to go; the morbol had found her. With a final deep breathe, she dashed out of her mound of leaves and made for the deeper foliage, hoping it would cover her escape. She drew every molecule of speed and agility she could from her heavily fatigued muscles, dodging behind bushes and trees, anything she could to hide herself from the beast’s limited vision. A small spark of hope grew within her, if she could hide herself well enough, it might not find her and she could escape. The forest she was in, called the Black Shroud by some, and was huge; covering thousands and thousands of yalms in every direction. If she could lose the monster now, she could escape to some corner of it and hide.
Moments passed and all she could hear was the sound of her own blood pounding in her ears and the whisper of the leaves as she ran through the foliage. Her small spark of hope died, extinguished like a lit candle in a rainstorm, as the ground under her feet shook and the thundering pursuit of the morbol crashing through the forest in her direction came to her ears. Losing all pretense of stealth, the miqo’te poured on all the speed she could; knowing deep down inside that it was all pointless. The creature was already gaining on her; covering the small lead she had gained on it in no time. The cover she had hoped to use to her advantage was now a hindrance; it slowed her down as she had to weave in-between trees and large bushes, obstacles that proved no difficulty to the enormous bulk of the beast. She could feel the air swirl around her, blowing her hair into her face, as the creature’s tentacles whipped out at her. Only quick, cat-like reflexes and dumb luck kept them from finding purchase; but that would only last so long. The time for her miracle had come and gone; now only the time for the gruesome and bloody death that awaited her was ahead.
It’s a shame, she thought as the monster continued to close its prey. There is so much I wanted to do, so many wonders around this great world I had wanted to experience. But my greatest regret will be all the necks that I will not be able to slit; all the people who deserve to taste my dagger’s blade across their throats. The retribution I owe them from the lives they have ruined. The vengeance all those voices call out for, that I was to deliver for those who no longer can. That is my greatest regret, my only true regret.
The pain that flew through her body as she struck the tree; ending her sudden and unplanned flight, was unbelievable. Only a lucky last-minute twist had saved her from breaking her neck on impact. It seemed one of those tentacles had finally closed the gap and found its target. Blackness began to creep in from the edges of her vision, telling her that her grasp on consciousness was beginning to slip. Well, at least I won’t be awake for the eating, she thought. The monster’s approach slowed, though the sound was softer, as if a large swath of cotton had been wrapped around her ears. She had obviously not bought the miracle enough time; if only she had been able to escape a little more, she might have been able to get herself out. So this is how it ends, she thought, another meal for an overgrown sunflower. The blackness had overtaken all her senses and her consciousness was almost gone, when she heard, through the thousands of layers of cotton, “Attack, quickly, she does not have any time left”.
And with that, the world was black.