Looking For Group

Looking for Group

by Ashley Lachance

 

Looking for group: Well-rounded rogue with archery experience. No fear of giants or spiders!

That’s the ad I posted. It lands me with a cleric, two mages, and the biggest paladin I have ever seen. They need a fleet-footed guide to scout ahead through Dagora Forest and kite the sudden population of walking corpses.

Well, I say sudden, but it’s predictable; a bi-monthly contract, in fact. Beneath the lake’s glassy surface are perhaps the oldest ruins in Eldoras. The ghouls spring up like dandelions, adventurers cut them down – a very standard run.

The scouting is almost dull. Thankfully, it’s midsummer and the forest is quite beautiful. The rich aroma of foliage and flowers almost hides the scent of the undead until we’re practically on top of them. Bonus: It hides our scent as well.

It’s easy, we tidy up our targets two and three at a time. Everything goes very smoothly making last week’s imp fiasco an embarrassing memory. We’re just packing up when the tremors start. It’s a slow, rhythmic pulsing causing increasingly large waves in the lake.

“It’s coming from the tower!” the cleric points her bell-sleeve covered hand to the east. Part of the ruin – could’ve been a tower, I guess – scatters rocks into the water with every shudder.

I didn’t see it coming. The explosion is sudden, violent, and all I see is a flash of rubbery tentacles. I reach for an arrow, but my quiver is empty; I lunge with the bladed end and trip over a root; and that’s when I realise I’m out of flare bombs, smoke potions, and toxic darts.

My attempts at dodging the ensuing onslaught of barbed limbs results in sharp agony in my own. The world spins. Something cracks – my head or my back – and now, I can’t feel my legs. A groaning whimper comes from my lips, but it hurts too much to think. There’s blood in my eyes and screams in my ears.

What are the odds of rolling a one on a D20 six times in a row? The dice must really hate me today.

 


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Little Curiosity

The following content within this post is copyrighted to its original author, Ashley Lachance. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ashley Lachance and ScribeCat.ca with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

– – –

Lucy slowly stirred from sleep like every other morning. She languidly stretched and blinked her eyes against the twinkling dust shining in the sunlight. Lounging and stretching again, she finally deigned to leave her bed for breakfast. As usual, she relaxed for a spell on the veranda before finally sauntering around the corner for her routine stroll.

The crisp, autumn air tickled her nose with the faint scent of decay. Lucy took a deep breath as she glanced around her familiar path. The trees still wore many brilliantly coloured leaves – gowns set aflame by the rising sun – but a stormy night had crushed and mulched enough foliage to leave an earthy note on the wind.

Suddenly, an unfamiliar sound caught her ear. It was a peculiar lilting call. Lucy knew every bird song, every animal call, in these woods and this new voice belonged to none of them. She shifted her weight from one foot to the other and rolled her shoulders before trotting toward this new melody. Pausing only briefly to get a better listen, she strayed from her usual path without fear.

Deeper into the forest, with ferns tickling at her heel, Lucy abruptly halted at the edge of a pond. Touching one delicate toe to the water’s surface, she watched the ripple expand and distort her reflection. After a few quick blinks, she realised the singing had stopped. Looking up, Lucy spotted a most peculiar figure.

Sunbathing on a fallen log, her long silky hair, her creamy skin, even her silvery fishtail, reflected the sun in a dazzle of colours. Her mouth still gaped, like a fish out of water, but the musical voice that followed could only belong to the mysterious minstrel.

“Oh,” she smiled politely, “Hello there, stranger. Since you have found me this morning, I will grant you one wish.”

“I desire nothing, fair singer,” Lucy sniffed, “My curiosity has been satisfied.” Spinning around with a swish of her fluffy tail, she headed back toward her traditional morning route.

The singer smiled after the cat and watched her vanish into the brush.

– – –

If you’d like to contribute to Scribe Cat’s 350-Word Challenge, please feel free to contact me for details!