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Conquest of Shadows - Flames with In - Chapter 4

by FlamingPhoenix


It was a little before sundown when Ryan made his return. By this point, Richard had finished carving up the dear and had it all wrapped up and ready for the market the next day, venison wasn’t something you often saw being sold in the market, being most were afraid to travel too far into the woods due to the fact most had heard stories of others going out to hunt and never returning. Most assumed it was because they had gotten snatched up by Vermirru, the likely hood of that happening is of course high, but rogues were just as much of a threat, they were often Elves who had been cast out of their Kingdom due to the crimes they had committed, they were a nasty lot, not anyone you would want to trespass.

Seeing, Ryan walk up to him out of the corner of his eye, Richard gave him a small nod of acknowledgment before returning his attention to the dear fur he had been hanging. “How did it go in town?” Richard asked turning to face, Ryan who was looking over Richard’s handy work.

“The normal,” Ryan replied, collecting some of the cut-up meat before heading inside, the wooden door creaking on its hinges as he pushed it open.

This was his normal reply when Damien’s guards have given trouble about the weapons he made them. After the war, Ryan had lost everything he cared about, he had refused to fight for Damien, and became a blacksmith instead, even though he seldom saw the king face to face, his guards sure liked making everyone’s lives a living hell.

Walking towards the shelf that stood by the door Ryan placed the meat in an orderly fashion onto its selves, Richard following along behind. Everything was set for tomorrow the only problem was keeping the food through the night.

Moving over to the weapon shelf they head next to the storage one, Richard grabbed his quiver quickly filling it with new arrows.

“You might want to take these.” Came Ryan’s gruff voice from the other side of the room.

Looking over Richard took notice of the newly lit fire, its warm glow softly illuminating the ever so slowly darkening room. Yet another indicator of what was waiting for him outside if the high pitch cackles and yowls of glee didn’t already give it away.

Looking down at Ryan’s hand he could see three round but large shapes in his palm, picking them up he put two into his pouch before looking over the third, “You could only make three?” He asked putting it away and grabbing a few knives.

“You know how the King is, resources aren’t the easiest to get hold of these days,” Ryan grumbled, his ears flattening as he glared into the flames. “Best not hang out in here too long; it will only be a matter of time before those scaled reptiles track down the dears sent, if they haven’t already.”

Swinging his quiver and bow over his shoulder Richard swung the front door open the sounds of howls and chatter of excitement entered his ears, along with the cold icy grip of the evening air, its cold figures brushing over his skin.

“Richard...” Ryan called out, getting the young elves' attention. “Don’t do anything…stupid.”

Meeting, Ryan’s green gaze, Richard nodded before closing the door behind him, ‘This is going to be a long night.’ He thought as he looked for his regular spot, not at all looking forward to what he was about to do.

...

Once safely hidden in a nearby tree, Richard began looking around for any signs of the pack of Vermirru, he also kept his ears pricked for any sound that could entail their small clearing was being surrounded, or that the pack was getting close. If anything they would probably go to the clearing he was in earlier today, and just follow the sent from there. If they don’t find anything to eat on the way it shouldn’t be too long.

His gaze drifting off into the darkness, Richard found himself beginning to wonder what would happen to Yahadna, and its people? Damien being king has really damaged their society and probably that of neighboring kingdoms; they had cut ties with every trading route, and couldn’t get any medical help from Merula, even though they are the best healers throughout Sevilla. Many throughout the years had fallen to illnesses that could’ve been cured with the right help, but Damien had refused to do so.

Letting out a frustrated sigh Richard rested the back of his head against the tree, closing his eyes, the sounds of nightlife invading his ears, the soft chirps down by the river, and the soft rustle of leaves in the distance surrounding him.

‘I never realized how peaceful it could be at this time, I thought it would be a lot louder.’ Richard thought before his eyes shot open, shooting to a crouched position on the branch, he quickly looked around, an arrow already knocked up on his bow. Everything was still...and now that he thought about it, too quiet. The Vermirru hadn’t made a sound in a while, which could only mean one thing.

Lifting his nose to the breeze Richard sniffed the air, the strong odder of decaying meat and rotten vegetation rapidly invading his nostrils. The smell alone made him want to bring up whatever was left in his stomach.

The loud thumping of his heart in his chest was the only sound Richard could hear before the thrilled cackle and screech of a Vermirru traveled through the clearing as it burst through the trees, its back spines bristling with pent-up excitement, as it snorted and hissed, tasting the air.

As the four-legged, snake-like creator walked, the dark anaconda-like patterns along its body shimmered in the milky moonlight, as its muscles bristled with every move. As the panther-like creature lifted its head again to smell the air, long slender tail coiling with its barb raised, burgundy-colored eyes searched the area,

‘This must be the scout.’ Richard thought as he pulled back his bowstring, aiming for the head. His arm aching the longer he held his position, Richard braised himself for his shot. Hoping he would get a clear hit.

Letting out a long sigh, Richard unhooked his fingers from the string, a sharp wiz slicing through the air before there was the sound of flesh being pierced.

Letting out a furious howl of pain, the Vermirru sharply twisted its head towards the arrow lodged in its hind leg. Leaning in, it took a long whiff of the arrow, a deep growl leaving its clenched jaws before it slowly looked up in Richard’s direction, eyes narrowing.

Richard felt the blood drain from his face as he made eye contact with the enraged animal below, “Uh oh...” Richard quietly whispered, quickly slinging his bow back over his shoulder. He could feel the sweat begin to build up as the tension grew.

Saliva dripping from its mouth, eyes now fine black slits, the Vermirru let out a loud screech-like roar before charging for Richard, its large feet churning up the ground in its mad dash, tail already dripping with venom.

Frantically looking around Richard’s eyes landed on the house below, then moved back to the angry creature now climbing up the tree, its long jagged claws tarring into the bark in its frenzied state to reach him.

‘Now or never.’ Richard thought as he dashed down the length of the branch he was standing on. The cold icy wind felt like sharp blades against his skin as he free fell, soon landing with a loud thud on the house below, the wood splintering a tad under his feet.

He didn’t have much time to catch his breath before there was the rough shake and feeling of something else landing on the roof behind him, the odder of decaying flesh wafting in his direction.

Not having to look around to know what it was, Richard sprinted down the length of the wooden top, his heart threatening to burst out of his chest as the sound of growls and back spines bristling entered his ears.

As he made a run for it he looked around for another escape. His eyes landed on a nearby tree it was going to be tough to climb, but...Looking behind him Richard could see the Vermirru slinking down the wooden paneling, back hunched, canines bared, greenish drool dripping from its jowls.

Only having one option left Richard pushed himself to pick up his pace, as he ran he removed the knives from his pouch, one in each hand, as he lunged for the tree, the silver mettle of the blades digging into the wood as he climbed.

He was almost high enough to jump to the next tree when he felt a pair of jaws clamp down on his leg, long sharp teeth ripping through his flesh. Letting out a shout of pain Richard began to feel himself being dragged down the tree. His heartbeat drumming in his ears he thrust his blades deeper into the wood in a desperate attempt to remain as far away from the angry animal below him, even though he could still feel his blades being pulled through the bark, wood shredding away the harder the Vermirru tugged.

Looking down he saw a pair of strong jaws locked around his calf, crimson blood now darkening his pants. Using his free foot, Richard tried his best to kick the Vurmirru free of his leg while trying to pull it away.

After he managed to get loose Richard continued his climb, his leg now screaming out at him as the Vurmirru below him let out a howl of pain as it fell to the ground.

Once he was sure he was high enough Richard hurriedly removed one of the small objects Ryan had given him earlier. Item in hand he looked down below him, the Vermirru now recovering from its dazed state, shaking its head.

Letting out a shaky breath Richard forcefully tossed the small item towards the ground. Upon making contact it burst open, clouds of gray fog erupting from its container, hiding the ground in a thick blanket of gray.

Only having a few minutes to think Richard looked for a way to get out of the situation, the loud howls and shrieks of the Vermirru forcing him to make a quick decision, it wasn’t ideal but it was a matter of who was quicker.

Knocking up his bow for the second time that night, Richard pulled back the string letting the arrow disappear into the churning mists below. Not wanting to take any chances being he had missed the first time he had tried to kill the panther-like creature, Richard continued to load up his bow, following the movements of the mist underneath him.

He did this a few more times when a shrill yowl pierced the air before it when silent, not even Richard moved as he observed the ground as best he could, trying to catch a glimpse of movement.


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The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
— Mark Twain