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18+ Language Violence

LMS VI: Shadows & Dragonfire - Chapter 1.4

by ScarlettFire

Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and violence.

Word Count; 1039

Chapter 1.4

Their conversation with the elf woman was....enlightening, to say the least. And after three days of travel, the offer to rest in the village was greatly appreciated. They learned the elf's name was Alvena and that she was searching for her sibling, Avery. Apparently there had been rumours of an elf of indeterminate gender spotted in the area, so Alvena--or Vena, as she prefered--had come to investigate. Avery was long gone by the time Vena had arrived in the village, but had stayed because the villagers were plagued by monsters. Some kind of not-quite-dead creature that had started to dig up the tiny graveyard set a ways down the river.

Lorne had been...disturbed by the story of that. He'd exchanged a look with Sage and Cassidy over it while Emyrs continued to study his snake and Issy was busy with tending to his mare. Sorell had not been harmed, but she had been badly startled and was yet to calm down fully. A couple of the village boys had come over to offer the mare several slices of apple and a small bucket of what appeared to be some kind of oats.

He was grateful that his brother was bonding with and making friends with the village children by letting them help care for his horse. Lorne had quickly turned his attention back to the elf woman and their converastion. Which was slowly winding down to a close.

The elf, Vena, wanted their help. She'd done her best to keep the beasts at bay, but was struggling to protect everyone. She'd been here for months already and had lost more than a few of the villagers. She was but one elf and even one elf could not protect everyone in the village.

Lorne was determined to help--and judging by the looks the others were exchanging, they were as well. It was the least they could do for the hospitality a clearly suspicious village of twenty-something were showing them.

So, with that in mind, Lorne and the others set themselves up in the only barn with Sage sitting in the loft, keeping watch in one direction while Alvena kept watch in the other. The elf had better eyesight and was keeping an eye on the tiny graveyard.

Lorne settled into one of the barn's animal pens. He'd noticed earlier that there wasn't much of a wall guarding the village, more of a small fence made of wood that was only half-completed. Apparently they'd been trying to set up some form of defence but hadn't gotten very far. Lorne had a feeling it was more to define the village's boundaries than for protection.

He laid back in the straw, staring up at the vaulted roof with the half-loft above it and sighed. Sleep did not come easy--his mind was too busy, refusing to slow down or stop whirling. But when it did come, it was uneasy.


Lorne woke to shouting. He jolted upright in the straw, dagger drawn before he even realised what was happening. It took a moment for him to realise someone was shouting for them all to get up, that it was here. It was a call to arms.

Now that he was more awake, more alert, he could hear something snarling and growling, the echo of something large moving around and around the barn. He followed the noises as it moved, slowly climbing up into a crouch. The sounds it was making were extremely unnerving.

He swallowed and jerked his head up at the sharp call of his name to find Cassidy staring down at him over the edge of the loft. "What is it?"

"I don't know!" Cass called down, gesturing in the direction of the sounds. "It's hard to get a good look at."

"Fast, then?" he asked and Cass nodded.

"Too fucking fast."

"That's not good--"

"Less talk, more fighting!" Alvena yelled down and Lorne jerked into motion, swifting scaling the ladder up to the loft. He joined Vena at her window, kneeling beside her but out of her way so that she could keep firing into the shifting shadows that would pass beneath them every now and then. "Fuck, it's so fast. I can barely catch a glimpse of it."

"It's so dark," he said, squinting into the night. He had no idea what time it was, but he could see a handful of torches burning--and yet, that was not enough light to illuminate the beast. "How the hell are we supposed to stop this thing?"

Vena drew her bow again and fired, seemingly blindly. "Fuck--"

Something yowled in the dark and both Lorne and Vena stilled. "Did you just--?"

"I think I did," she said lowly, calmly drawing her bow again. "Let's see if I can hit it again, shall we?"

They stayed still for a moment, just listening to the darkness. For several long, tense moments, there was nothing and then--there. A slight movement, a shimmer in the darkness. Lorne caught a glimse of torchlight reflecting off something. Eyes, perhaps, he thought, but it was unlike any eyeshine he'd seen before. Definitely not like Sage's, like a dragon's subtle glow and not any kind of prey animal he'd seen before. Definitely not like the wolves he'd sometimes spotted watching them from beyond a circle of firelight.

No, this was something....foreign to him. To perhaps even the region.

He frowned, but didn't have much more time to ponder on it as Vena fired in that general direction. Another yowl, a hiss. A low, rattling growl that set his teeth on edge and made the hairs on his arms stand up.

"What the fuck--?"

Vena fired again, and again there was the low growl, rattling and awful. The shadows moved and suddenly a large, black shape slinked into the tiny ring of firelight below them. Lorne froze, stunned, as red eyes stared up at him and fixed first him, then Alvena with a narrowed gaze. There was about those eyes. Something...intelligent. They were a different kind of red to Sage's, something that was very...unnerving to look at.

This was no mere beast.

This creature was smart. It was a hunter, and they were it's prey.

Lorne stared right back into the beast's eyes, dread pooling in his stomach. He had a feeling that this was a fight they weren't about to win.

We are so, so fucked.

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No, it's not that you didn't succeed. You accomplished a lot, but, if you want to touch people, don't concentrate so much on rhyme and metre. Think more about what you want to say instead of how you're saying it.
— LCDR Geordi La Forge