Ketta Terace: Chapter 12

Failbe’s voice stole once more into her mind:

Imprisoned on Ketta Terace, driven to me by Psyrocks, bumbling into a Kracktang, and now digested by a Great Hydreel. When you fall, you really fall hard, don’t you? You’re a real lucky champion for a guy to have on his side.

Amylia clambered out from the filth of chewed Kracktang. Pulling herself up with both hands, she soon mounted the pile of gore.

“Are you just trying to be glib to keep me going or are you really just this much of an ass?”

I mean, talk about one step forward and three steps back.

“Shut up.”

Out of the frying pan and into the fire huh?

“SHUT UP!”

The blind Skivri tilted his head up. “Why you speaking so mean? I do nothing to you!”

Ohh look, you made a friend.

Amylia sighed and sat atop the pile of carcass over the Skivri below.

“I’m not talking to you,” she said to the alien.

“Oh good,” said the Skivri .

“I’m just talking to the magical demon dragon in my sword, it’s why my hand is glowing...not that you- can you see? You’re not even looking in my direction.”

The Skivri’s head twitched and inclined to the left. Slowly, he resumed eating the Kracktang meat. For a long moment, only the sound of the Hydreel’s innards and the Skivri’s munching could be heard.

...You’re even good at making friends.

“Why are you being like this now? What happened to ‘I need a champion and together we can be freed,’ is that not an important factor in the whole respect department now?”

Well, I was a bit more concerned about being polite before I realized how much of an idiot you are.

“What?”

Now that you’re locked in...I mean, we are actually in this together. Perhaps you can find it in yourself to forgive me for being crass. I haven’t been with anyone for a long time now much less speak to anyone. Just forget what I said, I’ll try to be nicer.

“You can’t just call me an idiot and expect me to just be cool with you...wait, what do you mean locked in?”

That's fair, and we can talk on that point more once we get out of here. You actually have to swing the blade after all.

“Whatever you say, crazy person. I don’t talk to crazy persons” said the blind Skivri.

“Gahh!” Amylia threw the sword across the stomach room. The blade hit the water covering the soft organic tissue of the Hydreel’s stomach, but before it could pierce the skin, water welled in the spot where the blade entered and pushed the sword aside. It landed in the center of the room.

She glowered for a while, brooding over all of this. Such frustration welled within her, such rage and hate. But finally, she jumped down and picked up the sword from the floor.

“Just tell me what this thing is and how to get out.”

The beast we sit within is a Great Hydreel. They are naturally hydrokinetic and coat their bodies in water and secrete a hardening nerve enzyme into this protective coating through their skin and tissue. Effectively it uses water as a second skin.The tradeoff is that without this layer, their skin is quite porous and soft leaving their muscles exposed to damage. Besides their formidable teeth, the real chewing and digestion are done in their stomach, where water pummels their food further into submission. You may have noticed THAT’S THE PLACE WE ARE RIGHT NOW!

Amylia contemplated the walls. The coating of water reverberated deceptively clear in the green light of her sword and hand, full of enzymes and powered by hydrokinesis. There is still only so much water.

“Hey, Skivri!” She called to the emaciated being.

He picked up his head and turned towards the sound of her voice.

“What you want, crazy person?”

“Do you want to get out of here?”

“Not die hungry, no, not die hungry,” and he went back to eating the Kracktang.

“What do you mean?”

“No, not… much speaks like you. Not I. Not die hungry crazy person.”

“Well alright then...screw it.”

With that, Amylia drew up Failbe’s sword and drove the blade into the side of the Hydreel’s stomach. The second that the blade hit the water, gouts and jets pummeled her from all directions and the protective layer reacted to this new threat. The blade became locked in place and Amylia held on to the handle and pushed with all of her strength as she was bludgeoned by more and more fluids. Yet she pressed on, unhindered by the sudden constant bombardment of water. The blade began to inch forward to the tissue, but as it did, more water formed and pushed away the blade, creating more distance from its razor edge and the soft tissue. In the green of the sword’s light, she could see tiny bubbles exiting the pores in the stomach lining.

Those would be the enzymes.

Soon the strikes of water against her felt like solid brick crashing over her, but she had been through too much to let herself be digested in some soggy worm. Behind her through the crashing digestive water and the pounding torrents, the Skivri was screeching and running in various directions:

“WHAT YOU DO? WHAT YOU DO? STILL HUNGRY!!”

More and more the water pulled itself towards Amylia. She was the primary threat and eventually all the protective layer of the stomach was growing around her, encircling her, thrashing her and growing around her to make one decisive strike, to drown her, to crush her. Outside, the Hydreel was unphased, it was not the first time he had swallowed anything that tried to fight back, it was just a normal part of digestion.

Amylia was able to look at the bubbling water encircling her before it all crashed together. She was pummeled and water began to force itself to her airways while fist-sized torrents worked her broken body over and over. In this pool, Amylia let out a cry issuing in bubbles. Still, she did not let go of the sword. She took a gasp of water. Still, she held onto the sword. The world began to fade again. But she did not let go.

Meanwhile, the Skivri bumbled around at the far end of the stomach. He blindly tripped over a piece of Kracktang meat and crashed into the wall of the stomach. Because the protective layer was all focused on Amylia, there was only raw stomach for him to puncture with his poison pincers. The world heaved as the Hydreel writhed in pain and soon all of the water rushed back to strike the blind Skivri. Amylia fell to the floor and coughed up a gout of water but when she rose her eyes were glowing brilliantly green.

“YES!!” She exclaimed, leaping to her feet and arcing the blade in an underhanded swing. The blade trailed green light as it irradiated pure unseen force that parted the hardened water and struck deep into the flesh of the beast. As she followed through with her swing she held the pose with the blade held high over her head and illuminating the space like a green sun. A moment later the tissue separated in twain and blood filled the space.

What order and footing and certainty might have existed in the world before that moment was thrown utterly into chaos as blood, water, chewed meat, and hideously jarring motions overcame her world. It was met with unbridled slashing and cleaving and hewing through organ and mass and tissue without reason save the ultimate goal of digging a way out from this creature. The Hydreel gnawed at itself from the pain and slammed itself among rocks, and crashed against the shore with such tremendous force. Darts of water internally flew and tried to grasp at Amylia’s burrowing, but nothing would stop her until she cleft through its scaly hide and burst out into the water of the lake.

With glowing green eyes and a burning sword, she turned to the Hydreel underwater. Though it had been torn out from the inside and blood oozed like spilled ink into the water around them, the beast was a god of this world and would not be slain so cheaply. It drove at her in it’s pain-rage, bearing its long teeth and struck with relentless darts and charges. Amylia moved through the water as if by an unbidden force dodging and avoiding each new strike and counter. Finally, the beast made one final great attack and Amylia dodged, the creature launched itself from the surface of the water and flew out onto the rocky beach beyond. It writhed, broken by its stomach and struggled to get back in the water, but through exhaustion and the rocks around, it soon slowed in its thrashing.

Amylia rose from the water with her sword, walked up to the beast, and thrust the glowing blade through its eye. Then she collapsed.

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