FOREVER KNIGHTS: #1 Emergence

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ACHARIUS - A Targue

Merwood, Dread Hideout

ACHARIUS

Acharius, the huge blonde Viking, had been guarding the artifacts for what seemed an eternity already. He'd stored them deep in a cave and made an artificial wall disguised as stone to conceal them. Then he'd developed a system of traps. Simple snags which had already caught several Nonis.

Finding there were more and more of the evil creatures all the time, he'd begun building more sophisticated traps.

Sometimes it seems there are neverending Cimmerii. Radix can turn them as fast as we can kill them.

He’d been working on carved metal traps. And others for bigger beasts, that were weighted to smash or lift their quarry. He’d only set a few of the weighted traps so far.

Which led to his quandary this morning.


Acharius stood staring upward quietly. The rope creaked where the huge dog-like creature hung near the forest canopy. Flies already buzzed around its head and birds had plucked away much of its face. Looking at it, Acharius frowned.

“Why are you not human?” He turned to view it from another angle and saw the black bark-like armor coating its body. But where eyes should’ve been, were just empty sockets.

Something the birds would’ve done as soon as they found the corpse. He knew.

He considered the possibility that the large platter-size leaves and dense vines had concealed the meal from the scavengers. Though it seemed unlikely.

Here in Dread Hideout, the wide trunks were so close together that in some places, the only way to travel was to go from tree to tree as the trails on the ground became so narrow.

But there was enough view from the sky of the dangling creature.

Something isn't right.


Silver Stallion Inn, Dread Hideout

MARDICHI

A distance away in the shadow of the Netherlands where trees became more sparse but the NetherFey were prevalent there was the run down inn which held a sign swinging in the faint breeze depicting a poorly-etched silver mount.

The Silver Stallion Inn.

There was a low, black iron fence surrounding it to keep the Battling Dogs, out.

Creatures which only a few immortals, such as Mardichi, knew were Radix's Targue.

Most thought they were just creatures wandering from Battling Territory which held all manner of terrifying creatures.

Demons. Mardichi knew. Though presently, he didn't give two shits.


He had a lovely innkeeper’s daughter on his lap. She was toying with the long black beaded chain dangling from around his neck. Eyeing the amulet at the end. As she ground her supple hips against his member.

Her swelling breasts nearly spilling from the garment which Mardichi had been considering ripping off of her, for nearly an hour.

Vast patience, for me.

“What is this?” She murmured.

“What is that!” Mardichi proclaimed. Leaping to his feet as he was suddenly startled. Toppling the girl from his lap as he lifted his head to scent the air.

“What is what?” The girl whined from where she’d plopped to the floor.

“That smell…” He winced against the awful taint of it. Recognizing what it was, his eyes flashed red. Reflecting the firelight nearby. His head whipped animalistically. “Cimmerii.” He caught the direction.

His large frame was out the door, slamming it with a resounding thunk as he headed out through Merwood.

Acharius’ caves.

Mardichi knew for the smell to be this pungent this far away, there was a swarm heading for Acharius.

The stink of them floated along the wind.

Travelling nearly as fast as Mardichi.


Merwood, Dread Hideout

ACHARIUS

Acharius cut the line holding the Targue in the eerie quiet of the forest. He watched it thump to the ground. Striding over to stare down at it. Viewing it from different angles didn’t change the fact that it was most definitely a Cimmerii Targue, one of the dog like creatures that followed Radix.

And it hasn’t changed back to a human body.

Why?

As the blonde giant stared at it, the Targue lurched its’ head up and snapped massive jaws around Acharius’ leg. Making him shout in pain.

He stuck a thick branch in its mouth and pried it. Hearing the crunch signifying its jaws breaking. It made a shrill cry then its head fell. Body going limp after a long gasp.

It hadn’t returned to human because it’s not dead. Despite how it looked…And smelled.


Acharius heard the brush come to life around him. He turned in every direction and saw the waist high, dark green bushes rattling. Leaves spraying in the violent movements pushing through. He heard the snuffling and grunting telling him animals were filling Merwood Forest.

No. They’re everywhere. He slowly drew a handful of arrows from his quiver. Naturally splaying them between his fingers so he could stack them as he loaded his bow.

There’s too many. He knew.

But I’ll be damned if I go out without a fight.

Nonis burst onto the trail with him. He instantly shot several. Loading and firing his bow in movements too fast for normal eyes to see. But in that short amount of time they swarmed his ankles. A few trying to climb his legs while viciously biting.

He kicked them away when he could. Eventually having to stop shooting arrows to reach down and catch one’s tail. Ripping it off his hip. But already it left a blood track along his legs. He gave a shout as one sunk teeth, into the deep gouge the Targue had already made.

Bloody Hell! Trying to hold his calm Acharius looked for a way to get away from them but they spanned in every direction. A swarm.

He glimpsed a piece of the trail that had the fewest number. He rushed that direction. Shouting and ripping them off him. Their teeth raking across his skin as he yanked their jaws free.

He heard a screaming whinny and looked up to see a giant red stallion thundering down the trail. Shaking its mane as it huffed violently. By far the biggest horse Acharius knew.

“Mardichi.”

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