Ketta Terace: Chapter 11

The world was a swirling vortex of fluid forces. Amylia was hoping that this would be it and there wouldn’t be much pain, but her resignation was hidden behind a wall of sheer panic and disorientation. Her body and limbs bounced off the soft tissue walls of this oblivion whirlpool into darker and deeper depths. Through the mixture of coursing water and air, there was still the present glowing green light of her wounds and rejoined hand from Failbe’s energy. Through it all, she wondered how she could still hold his energy despite being separated from the sword and the prisoner demon himself.

The great eel that had consumed her didn’t have anything in particular on his mind. As the king of his lake, he trolled along just under the surface of this dank pool in the crux of a deep and dark gorge. His kingdom was also his net and he toured it endlessly near the edges and in the depths for something to satiate its never-ending hunger. There was nothing besides the eel that lived in this pool for of his breed he was the strongest, the most resolute, the most vicious and unthinking in the hunt. What once existed in the pool when he was just a young eel was eventually consumed by him. Slithering like a slick black wave through the shallow waters near the rocky land he spied a small creature walking about up on a nearby boulder. An arachnid with large blind eyes and wild mandibles writhing from its blunt, hairy face. The loathsome creature rummaged among the rocks for lichen and smaller insects, rodents, and crabs. It ran its face along the underside of boulders and over the gritty surfaces of the greasy land as a terrestrial bottom feeder. However, the eel noticed its size as slightly larger than most anything else that wandered into his clutches. With a strike, the eel shot the weight of its body into a crescent and with a mighty slash of his tail a spray of his lake directed at the arachnid. Through the air, the spray formed into a focused torpedo. The mass of water hooked around and sniped the creature from the back pushing it into the water and a moment later the eel raced forward and snapped the stunned arachnoid up.

Amylia found herself flat on her back in the clammy cavern of the eel’s stomach. The walls undulated with the swimming motions of the beast and she did not fully stand for fear of losing her balance in this turbulent living vehicle. In the green light of her hand, she looked about the fleshy chamber. Water clung to the walls and ceiling, but not as it would of its own divination. Streams of water did not trickle down the sides, it did not pool on the floor, there was no source or direction. Rather, there was a placid coating of fluid undulating and moving with the walls of the creature’s innards. It was clear and calm reflected her green light in ripples across the stomach in a dazzling motion of light and beauty. Yet the light fell upon the steaming bulk of the devoured Kracktang. Feathers and meat and blood were strewn about the watery floor but remained unmoving. Then the smell hit her. Putrid notes of rancid meat, stagnant water, fish, and vomitous humid steam from the flesh of the slain Kracktang.

“Oh, Gods!-” she blurted into the dull space. Thankfully her own stomach was empty at this point.

On her hands and knees, she crawled through the stench of the chamber towards what remained of the Kracktang. With any luck, she could find Failbe’s sword and at least try cut her way out or use the demon’s power or something.

The walls of the room suddenly tensed and the whole of the space collapsed and shook and slid and a great inertia flung her to the back wall pressed and pushed by the sudden claustrophobic walls. After a moment everything relaxed and the space returned to its previous size. Water spilled into the room and Amylia was once more met with disorientation and a deluge of lakewater. Yet quickly, the water rushed to the walls and ceiling and floor, adding to the coating of calm rippling water.

“It’s controlling the water within itself,” Amylia said to herself. She was flung atop the remains of her previous foe. She looked down at the mouth to see a dark shape left by the water on the floor. It rose and sputtered with bubbling water in its mouth.

“A Skivri?”

“What?....where...am...I?” The Skivri spoke in a quiet and hesitant manner.

Amylia glared at the small being. It rose and outstretched its hands pressing the walls of the place through the water. Despite the light of Failbe’s energy, still coursing through Amylia, the Skivri wandered across the space as though unseeing.

“We are in the belly of some new horror. I don’t expect we have long.” Said Amylia.

“...yes? The eel...Wandering too close to the lake...And what is it that speaks?”

Amylia groaned and then turned to the remains of the Kracktang, lifting and searching through the flesh and chunks for Failbe’s sword.

“Look, I’m gonna try to find a way out of this, I don’t really care who you are and, unless you can do something to help, I don’t really care what you do.”

She continued rummaging.

“The...belly….the eel….oh dear….this is bad.”

As the Skivri spoke, it wandered towards the Kracktang and began to eat a sizable chunk of meat, relishing the food with squeaks and clicking noises.

“Not….dying….hungry….no not me…”

All at once Amylia’s own stomach caved and a groan issued from within her abdomen. She had not eaten since she was being held by the Skivri soldiers. She had been through so much, used so much energy, and now hunger stole into her body and mind.

The Skivri looked up in no particular direction from his meal.

“What? ...what that noise? You hungry?.....Try meat?...Is fresh….is good.”

As she dug through the remains, she gagged, the thought of eating this, the smell, it would not be kept down if she tried. It had only been a day, she was hungry, but not quite that desperate yet. A human could live for a while without food. So, instead of focusing on her own desiccated body, she continued to sift through the gore and mess. She did not know which direction to dig, nor did she have any notion of where Failbe might have ended up, only the image of the sword planted in the breast of the avian foe remained, and if it was consumed, most likely the sword would be as well. She felt compelled to look for it. Each moment in this place was an insult to her, each second hardened her to the world. Though she had wished for death, finding that she had a chance left to live, however small it was, had to be taken.

Then as a blessing, she moved a chunk of a wing and found a green light pouring through a wet pile of feathers. She cast it aside and reached in, grasping cold steel. She pulled it up and out, and the whole room grew brighter with the emergence of Failbe’s sword.

“Gods! Finally, you found me, it’s disgusting in here, and that SMELL, it’s reached me even in this place. What a curse I have, that I cannot pass but such a languid vapor can penetrate within? Perhaps it requires more study, more to concern that a vile odor such as this, in this place you’ve left me, can befoul my nostrils, and yet my physical being remains trapped. Never before have I expected such hideous injustice. I doubt that I could turn myself into a smell and escape. You blasted fool, where am I?!”

Amylia’s eyes drooped, remembering who Failbe was.

“We’re in the belly of the eel,” she said aloud to Failbe.

“THE WHAT!?” Failbe’s voice screeched.

The Skivri in the room looked up from the Kracktang meat.

“Yes….we know this….why you talk now?”

By Jason Pratley

Jason Pratley joined the team sometime in 2013 when he created the concepts for the gods of ODR. He has since become the Writing Director and de facto loremaster for DDG. Check out some other stories and content at jvfpp.wordpress.com and goodevilcomic.com