Men & Monsters

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End of One Era

The trek was a slow and arduous one, with Eira carrying the bulk of Bernard’s weight on her shoulders. Not unlike the first time they met, she thought, but this time, he had the extra weight of his armor to contend with. Thorn didn’t seem as anxious as he had before, waiting on them as they tagged along. He did dearly miss his eye as his scans required more twists and turns of his neck than he would have liked, but at least the adrenaline still numbed the worst of the pain. He certainly wasn’t looking forward to it once it faded, as its sting was already biting.

The dinosaur did his best to clear a path for the two humans, dragging his feet to push tall grass and brush to the ground. It wasn’t exactly subtle, and if Giant’s men stumbled onto it it would only lead it directly to them, but for now, it was the least of Thorn’s troubles. What mattered most to him was finding Finn or Rex. He had the scent of the spinosaurus, but it troubled him that Rex’s scent seemed so faint. Conversation was nonexistent as they traveled, but he assured Eira that Finn was close by.

Perhaps more so than he had anticipated, Thorn thought as he broke the brush into a clearing with a towering waterfall nearby. They stood dwarfed by two dinosaurs laying close by. It was only now that the stench of blood flooded the ceratosaur’s nostrils, and his heart sank when he set eyes on Finn, lying weak and battered near the center of the clearing. Hesitant, he inched back toward the dense forest when he struck the two behind him.

Eira gave a surprised whelp while Bernard grunted harshly as they fell back. With a crunch of metal the knight cried out as he landed. While Eira was quick to her feet in a bid to help him sit up, she couldn’t help but look back, in a bid to see what Thorn had so cautiously moved away from. Past him, she saw her friends, and she suddenly felt as if someone had punched her in the stomach. Fighting for her breath, she helped Bernard stand against a tree before panting past the ceratosaurus.

“Wait lass!” He cried in vain as Eira hurried to the side of Finn. He and Giant caught her scent before long she could reach them, but the spinosaur was slow in turning his head in her direction, smiling weakly just as the girl came to him. Her hands shaking, Eira gingerly touched the tip of his long snout. Her calloused hands felt soft against his leathery skin, and even so, it sent a soothing chill down the dinosaur’s back.

“Finn,” She breathed. “Y-you’re hurt.”

“I’m fine my dear,” Finn’s voice was weak, but sincere. How it joyed him to see her. Dirtied but not harmed, he assumed the blood on her sleeve to be anyone’s but hers. “It warms my heart to see you again.”

“We’ve come to get you. We’ll get you better again.” Eira spoke with a heavy heart, seeing the blood stain much of her friend’s body, any shred of hope lingered desperately to her chest. It wasn’t until now that she looked over to Giant, when an intense anger wracked her body. She was nearly shaking out of anger. She was glad to see him just as beat up as Finn, but was disgusted by that smile he offered her.

“I concur,” He purred. “It is wonderful to see you.” Eira’s hands on Finn’s snout curled up into tight fists as she glared at him, never leaving his gaze as the giganotosaurus slowly rose to his feet, staggering once when he grunted in pain. “Finn and I were just having the finest conversation. Reminiscing, remembering, and about you of course.” How the Green Folk was sick of being the topic of conversation, especially when it ended with these skirmishes and mindless bloodshed. Finn broke his snout away from her touch and turned it upward, so as to look at Giant.

“Honor our agreement, Giant,” his words were quiet. The bloodied, tired giganotosaur looked at Finn and bowed his head deeply.

“I will with utmost respect Finn. But...seeing as how you’re still alive…” The suave leader looked to Eira and took a step toward her.

“Agreement?” The young woman asked breathlessly as she looked from Giant to Finn, then back.

“Simply politics, my dear. Now come along. You wish to give Finn his life and land, yes?” Giant smiled as he cocked his head and took another step.

“Stop!” Finn howled. It shook Eira to her core, and to Giant’s amazement, the spinosaurus pushed himself upward, first on his good arm, then his legs brought him back to his full height. He sighed, winced, and groaned while doing so, but with his friend’s life at stake, Finn stood tall to oppose the giganotosaurus. Giant narrowed his eyes. “We both know there was only going to be one outcome…”

“You sure are one of your word. I do respect you for that Finn,” Giant said in a strained tone. Eira, truly baffled by what was going on, froze when Giant found the strength to leap toward the spinosaurus. The earth shook at her feet, rattling her knees until she was sure they would give out on her. Just before she collapsed, however, she felt something pinch the back of her cloak and drag her away from the skirmish as it unfolded. Panic took hold of her as she flailed and fought Thorn when he gingerly bit the back of her hood and pulled her from harm’s way, but also in the helplessness she felt when Giant charged Finn.

The carnivorous kingpin snapped his jaws near Finn’s throat, but was struck hard when a powerful arm crashed into his snout instead. Finn’s claws tore deep gashes into the side of his head, just above his maw and narrowly missing his eye. Giant gave a brief groan before swinging his bloody skull around and into Finn’s, just before the latter could react. The two made contact, and the crash sent Finn stumbling back. With so much pain wracking his body to contend with, the spinosaurus left himself defenseless, if for but a moment.

Eira watched on in horror as Giant seized this single opportunity to his advantage. She screamed and beat against Thorn’s snout until he released her and cried at her to stop. In a split-second, Giant leapt forward and closed his battered maw shut on Finn’s exposed throat. The two stood as high as they could, snouts pointing toward the heavens, where they stood forming a mangled arch.

Time stopped and the forest stood still for what seemed an eternity. Finn’s eyes went wide as he gave a surprised gasp, his good hand's claws still dug into Giant's flesh, when he felt weak. Shock set in swiftly, as his arms fell limp, dangling back and forth. When Giant released him and backed away, the spinosaur’s knees gave out beneath him, and though he tried to catch himself with his good arm, he simply fell like a rag doll. A dark pool slowly formed around him, and he looked back helplessly at Eira as he watched her run toward him. He tried to speak, tried to tell her to get away, and not to worry about him, but that was not what she did. Instead, she rushed to his side and dropped to her knees, a hand resting on the bony crest just above his eye.

“Finn...Finn, please don’t go.” She pleaded as tears welled up in her eyes. Feeling himself grow cold and weak, Finn the Spinosaurus gave her one more warm smile. The pain throbbing throughout his body was fading. As he blinked ever so slowly, he took in as much of her beauty as he could.

“Thank you...Eira...this...is for you, my dear friend…” Eira watched helplessly as the vibrant golden-green eyes she had grown so used to faded, and with one last push, he looked at her one more time. He sighed, while a gentle grin formed on his snout, when he slowly closed his eyes one last time.

“Finn? Finn please. Finn, wake up!” Eira cried, trying in vain to shake him from his slumber. This would go on for some time, but it was fruitless. He was gone. Eira’s lower lip quivered when a tear finally rolled down her cheek. She brought a hand over her mouth as that single tear soon unleashed a flood of them. Her muffled sobs forced Giant to look somberly on, unable to bring himself to look at the damage he had done to this girl, and the pain he put onto her.

Thorn lowered himself beside Bernard, allowing him to latch on and hoist himself onto the dinosaur’s shoulders. Slowly the ceratosaurus approached the grieving girl, head held low. He never knew many creatures who were capable of mourning, but Eira was the most painful to watch in such a state. Hovering over her, he swallowed hard and spoke just above a whisper.

“We should go, Miss Eira. There is nothing for us here.” Eira’s hands, one over her mouth and the other on the ground, formed tight fists that she swiftly beat into the ground. She did it once, with a furious cry in tow, then another, and one more time. Shaking, she got to her feet and walked briskly toward Giant, her hands coated with grass, blood, and dirt. The dinosaur, who dwarfed the girl several times over, looked back at her with a certain timidity that didn’t seem possible with one of his character. They stared at one another for some time, one with pure anger and the other with regret.

“You…” Eira hissed. He blinked once in response. “I...hate you, Giant. Like nothing I’ve ever known.” Those words struck like swords in Giant’s heart, as he visibly shrank back. But a deal was a deal. Finn’s life for hers. He sheepishly nodded and looked to the ground, and did nothing as Eira turned and stormed back toward the forest, with Thorn at her side.

Left alone with his thoughts, Giant had never known a feeling quite like this. A twisting, rotten feeling that nearly made him sick. He looked to Finn’s body, his head dangling solemnly from his body, when he nodded slowly.

“Goodbye, my old friend…”

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