Ian stumbled through the thick grass lugging the huge creature on his back. The Serpens was somehow heavier now than when he had first caught and killed it. Its body fell lifelessly as he dropped the creature.
It had been quite formidable. Its costly blue-gray skin was both tough and flexible, giving the reptile quite the advantage. In fact he had been lucky to catch it before it could hide itself back in the thick mud.
Ian was almost to the Kunnuk’s village where they would skin the Serpens, give him the best of the skin and meat, and then keep whatever he didn’t want or use; which was a pretty fair trade, if he did say so himself.. Suddenly, a shrill call echoed out behind Ian. Wyvern. He would have to hurry or it might catch up to him, and that wouldn’t end well.
The dangerous Wyverns of the jungle areas were his greatest obstacle in surviving here. They were large, dragon-like creatures that could easily take down a Vine Strider if they chose. Ian picked up the snake-like predator and continued the walk to the Kunnuk’s moving village. Which unfortunately for Ian, could be miles away by now.
It had been about an hour or so since he had heard the Wyvern’s call. Luckily for him, that had been back in the marshy plains. Then, as he left the treeline behind, he saw them.
At least twenty Vine Striders marched together in a parade, each with four powerful legs connected to their massive shell. Even though the great giants towered over the trees and valleys, they cast no shadow to mark their presence.
Ian grabbed the small Caprae horn from his belt, and let the booming sound call out across the valley. Moments later he saw a rope drop from one of the Striders. He raced towards it. It took a great deal of effort to carry the Serpens and dodge the Vine Striders’ massive legs.
A gargantuan tangle of sharp, pointed legs with no shadow to warn him of their coming almost certainly meant disaster if you didn’t know what you were doing. He was in danger of being stepped on or crushed by one on accident.
Once he got to the rope, he quickly secured the metal clasps to his belt while he continued to run, trying to keep up with the Strider. Ian pulled the rope twice. Holding onto the Serpens with one arm, and the rope with the other, he was slowly raised off the ground and onto the top of the Vine Strider’s shell, and to the village of the Kunnuk.