Ketta Terace: Chapter 13

The sky panned above like a dark continent of rolling clouds, but the rain had stopped for now. Amylia stood on the beach. What remained of her coat was in tatters, patches of blood on her prisoner garb mingled with glowing green energy that radiated from deeper wounds. Her face was bruised and cut. Breathing heavy and dripping lake water, she was bare and worn and her eyes were glazed over, no longer seeing the world. She stood over the deflated carcass of the great eel, its long body draped over the black rocks and coarse sand of the shabby beach. Blood flowed from the great gash in its side across the sand into the still lapping water, Failbe’s sword hanging low in her grip.

Another monstrosity slain by her with the aid of Failbe’s magic. She let the sword fall from her hand, the blade sticking in the sand. Tears didn’t yet well up in her eyes, but she put her head in her hands and then saw her hands, the glowing and translucent right hand, and she let out a moan of frustration that grew into a shuddering sob of torment. She lay on the sand and cried into it. She cried for her life, and what had happened, and the death that surrounded her, and the pain and exhaustion, and the thought of Failbe’s divine trickery. She looked at her glowing hand and the wounds across her body that lit through her clothes with sickening green. She lamented that her body had become so deformed and that she did not know what kind of life she could live from here. She lay there for a long time in silence, drifting from consciousness and then returning in stillness and then letting herself well up again and releasing it all in tears.

Then, there was a sound from the Hydreel and Amylia turned, her adrenaline putting her right back on high alert. Looking up at the beast, she went to grab the sword but then saw that it was something moving from within and not the stirring of the beast itself.

From the very wound that she had cut her way out, a dark figure burst forth and promptly plopped into the sand. The blind Skivri sputtered with chitinous clicks as it coughed up a lungful of water before it rose onto its stilty legs, staggering aimlessly across the beach. He stood before Amylia and patted his body over.

“Alive? Unhurt! Alive! ALIVE! ALIVE!” He performed a careless dance in the form of an odd jumping shuffle about the sand.

Amylia watched him as he sniffed the air.

“Not alone?” He turned his unseeing grey eyes head towards Amylia. “Crazy person alive too?”

Amylia pulled herself together and sighed. “Yes, I’m still alive. Not that that has been going well so far.”

“You save this one’s life!? You kill great eel! You are Eelslayer! Take tooth from this and come. I show you things, I show you safety. Follow, follow!”

At that, Amylia watched the Skivri. He did not wait, but began to clamor towards the Hydreel. The Skivri felt about its cold slimy hyde for its open mouth and sharp teeth within. Wrapping his hands around a smaller tooth he pulled with all his might until it came free. Then clutching it like a prize in the small hands on his chest, he moved on to the rocks above the beach, feeling the stone and sniffing the air. Amylia picked Failbe’s sword from the ground and followed the being’s laborious climb into the rocky valley beyond the beach. Her steps were heavy and the climb was slow going up the boulders to higher ground. At the top the Skivri stood up high on his legs and felt the air. After a moment he called down to her.

“This way crazy person. This way through here, Eelslayer.”

Upon reaching the top of the formation she followed him into a narrow channel through the rocks. The sky was obscured and only by the light of the sword could she see. Yet the Skivri now moved much faster, skittering just beyond the green glow in the twists and turns of the channel. He did not need the light and their progress only stopped only when the Skivri paused to feel the side of a stone or when he appeared conflicted about which turn to take. The path through the boulders was littered with sharp rocks that were loose underfoot, and there were spaces too small for Amylia to fit through comfortably forcing her to squeeze through with the sword out behind her or go around the path the Skivri had taken.

“What is your name?” she called out into the darkness.

A moment later the Skivri was right in front of her, appearing from the shadow.

“Name? Names are for others. Not for this one. Too long alone to remember.”

“Aha. Well, my name is Amylia. I feel like I should call you something.”

“Amy-lilia?”

“Close enough.”

The Skivri seemed to go into a deep concentration of thought.

“Others have called this one Blind.”

“How about I call you Ben.”

“Ben? It is good as name can be.”

“Where are you taking me Ben?”

“Not far now,” he said, navigating over the top of a sloping boulder. “Others are there yes, there are others.” He began to move on into shadow.

“Others like you?” she asked.

“Yes. They are alone as well. Everyone is alone. Alone together.”

Amylia felt a chill run over her as a gust of wind snaked through the rocks and crevices. The rain began soon after, and rivulets of water poured down the rocks and made little running channels of water at their feet. Amylia cupped her hands with some water and drank deeply.

Before too long the Skivri stopped. “Here is the way.”

With his insect arms and pincers, he began climbing straight upwards and into the rain. Amylia followed and she came out to an outcropping of stones. They had been traveling between two sheer cliffs and emerged at their abrupt end, to a cross-section of valleys that intersected. On the far cliff face from where they emerged, dots of light could be seen on the cliff side and at the bottom of the cliff face was a palisade structure with a gatehouse.

Amylia’s jaw fell open. “A settlement?”

“They made houses. Safe here for now.” He moved on and Amylia followed. The sword at her back vibrated, but Failbe’s voice did not come to her. She did her best to cover the glowing sword and her wounds in the remains of her coat, but she could not cover the streaks of energy on her face or calves.

As they approached the structure, the Skivri stood next to Amylia, feeling the walls. Amylia looked up at the dim houses and lights that snaked their way up the cliff face above them. They were made of scrap and wood haphazardly bound together in barbed wire and rope. A gatehouse was at the far end from where they emerged from the valley.

A voice came to them as they neared the gatehouse “Who is that!? What’s glowing out there?”

The Skivri turned to Amylia, “They do not like this one here, but with you, they won’t hurt.”

“What?” She said before the voice returned.

“Make yourself known or I’ll shoot!”

The Skivri stood high on his legs and held up the tooth he had been carrying.

“IT IS THE ONE YOU CALL BLIND, BRING WITH ME A GREAT WARRIOR, EELSLAYER!” he cried out into the dark gatehouse.

A few moments later the gate opened and the Skivri hustled forward with Amylia in tow. Once within the structure, they were met with weapons and angry beings who glared at the newcomers.

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