Terror of the Skies - LoR
While crossing endless rock slopes, the explorers stumbled across a strange object. It was a mound of decaying vegetation surrounded by wooden sticks.
“This is strange,” Malachi said. “I wonder what could have deposited this all the way up here? We’re thousands of feet above the tree line.”
“It looks like some sort of nest,” said Bear.
“Something big,” said Oakden.
Malachi strode over and held his hand out to the side of the pile. Even though the temperature was near freezing at their altitude, the pile felt warm.
“Feel this,” he said. “The composting material is heating it up.” He studied the pile. “It must be a nest.” He climbed the side of the pile, and reached over the edge.
“I’mm nnnot sure that’s a good idea,” said Oakden, glancing around nervously.
“Ah-ha” said Malachi, digging his hand into the pile. “This must be an egg!”
“Wwhat is that?” said Oakden, staring into the sky.
They all looked up, and saw a black dot in the sky. It soon resolved itself into a massive winged shape dropping towards them.
“Quick, away from the nest!” yelled Malachi.
They ran and readied themselves to fight. Malachi withdrew the detached head of his glaive from his pack. Bear had a short sword. Before they had made it ten feet, the creature was upon them.
“Stand firm!” yelled Bear.
“What I wouldn’t give for a longbow right now,” said Oakden.
In that eternal second, Malachi saw a slender, serpentine form gliding toward him on long narrow wings. Its snout was long and narrow and its teeth were thin and needle sharp.
“Down!” Malachi commanded. He ducked, at the same time thrusting upward with his dagger as the beast passed overhead. That went surprisingly well.
Then the heavy tail slammed into him, sending him skidding. He staggered to his feet, looking around. The three explorers stood close together, watching the creature come back around. It landed between them and the nest, opened its jaws wide, and stared at them.
“Do you think we can kill it?” Said Bear, glancing dubiously at his small weapon.
“I think we’d most likely get ripped to shreds,” said Malachi. “Anyway, I don’t think it’d be worth it. It’d be nice to have a specimen, but there’s no way we could get it down the mountain.”
“Are you nuts?” said Oakden. “I’m more worried about getting out of here alive.”
The creature drew back its head and hissed violently.
“Hmm, good point,” said Malachi. “I propose we run for our lives.”
“We must hold our ground,” said Bear, “and appear threatening. If we run, it’ll think we’re prey and eat us for sure.”
The creature stepped toward them and snapped its jaws.
“No, trust me on this,” said Malachi. “We’ve got to back off. Don't make any sudden movements.”
Slowly, they began stepping backwards, away from the nest, then ran. Malachi half expected to feel teeth piercing his shoulder with each step, but nothing came.
Keep, looking, ahead!
When they had put 400 yards between themselves and the nest, they stopped to look. The creature had circled back, and was standing over the nest.
“How did you know it wouldn’t attack us?” said Oakden.
“A couple reasons,” said Malachi. “For one thing, it seem to be intent on protecting the nest, by the way it was threatening us, and staying between us and it. The sooner we got away from, there the better.
Secondly, its narrow jaws and thin teeth made me guess that it eats smaller prey, possibly fish.”
“You guessed?” said Oaken incredulously.
“Well, it was an educated guess then,” said Malachi. “But now we have more empirical data.”
“Which is?” said Bear.
“We aren’t eaten.”
This is the latest installment in my series of scenes depicting the exploration of the jungle island of New Lenfald, for Lands of Rowia.
If you have not seen them, or wish to refresh your memory, the previous installments can be found in this album.
Comments, critique, and criticism welcome.