The Box (Part XII)

From his perch, high above the intersection, Joeshan watched as the creatures feasted upon their kill.  His stomach lurched threateningly at the sight of his friend being devoured, but there was little else he could do at this point.  His body ached from his own recent attack and he had lost a lot of blood from his injuries as well.  If it wasn’t for the dark magic of the sorcerer, he most likely would have suffered this very same fate.

The Destrachan had continued to close in on him, breathing upon him its foul stench as it approached.  He had been paralyzed by its attack, a sonic blast so strong that it had stolen the air from his lungs and pinned him to the ground.  Slobber dripped off of its bottom lip, splashing first on his neck and then on his cheek as it drew ever closer to his face.

With a start, he realized that he could hear the voice of the sorcerer as he worked his magic from somewhere in the darkness around him, but to his dismay it was only echoes that he heard.

A long, snake-like tongue slithered past the creature’s teeth and over his face, smearing the drool over his cheek as it passed. 

He wanted to scream, cry, anything, but there were no reserves in his lungs with which to do so.  He trembled as the creature’s tongue suddenly forced its way past the eyelids of his right eye socket and wrapped itself tightly around the orb within.  He couldn’t scream, but his body reacted with motion for what his lungs could not do in sound.  

He’d lost all vision in the eye that the creature had imprisoned. Small lines of fire burned through his head as the creature first tugged, and then yanked on its small prize.  At the moment that he’d felt something give, his lungs suddenly expanded, sucking in the much needed oxygen that had been missing for too long.

As soon as it had returned, he expelled it with an anguished wail.  Blood filled the now empty socket and ran down the side of his face, while his one remaining eye watched the creature suck in the connective tissues as if it were a string of boiled pasta.

The pain was unlike anything he had ever felt, white hot, and crippling him as surely as the effects of creature’s initial attack. The Destrachan was toying with him.  Through his one remaining eye, he watched as it sucked on the other between its lips while pointing the pupil back at him.  

It was at the moment that it crushed the eye between its teeth that the creature’s attention had been drawn to Elladuer’s Last Stand, though he hadn’t known that’s what it was at the time. He was just thankful that he was safe, if even for a moment.

Now, as he watched the scene unfolding below, he understood why the creature had suddenly abandoned him its next meal. There wasn’t much left of his elfin companion.  The armor had been blasted to shreds by their sonic attacks and was scattered about the clearing.  Four of the Destrachan surrounded the elf’s remains, where they occasionally foraged from what little meat was left on his bloody bones.

They were well fed.  It was very likely that they didn’t eat this much in one sitting and their midsections were swollen to the point of bursting.  They rested close together, not so much as for warmth, but as if it were from habit.  Unlike any predatory creatures he had ever seen on the surface, these willingly shared their kill, that the next may have enough in its belly.

He began to cry, clear salty tears from his good eye and bitter blood-filled ones from his empty socket.  The pain had since faded to a dull throb, one which would be a constant reminder of what he had lost, but he would never forget the the next thing he saw.

Far below, where the creatures lazed near their feast, Oramiir strode across the clearing.  He paused only to take the elf’s weapon and entered the tunnel branching off to the left, from whence the breath of the dragon still emanated.

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