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    Yeoldebard
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Season of Bloom - 34. Winter Wyverns

Snow fell in swirls, billowing and frigid. Lapis shivered as ice settled on his hood, his breath obscuring his vision. But he would not falter.

Blood stained his clothes, bear and owlbear alike. Beside him, Khemet soldiered on, barely healed cuts not slowing the giant cat down. Lapis felt anger wash over him every time he saw the wounds, but he was the only one who could heal the injuries properly, and if he did that, he wouldn’t have the energy to support his other companions. But after the monsters were dealt with, the amurrun was going to make sure his closest friend got all the love and comfort he deserved.

“Praise Lamashtu!”

“Oh mighty beast! Sharp be your teeth!”

“Praise Lamashtu!”

Voices emerged from the snowy storm, the shadow of a wyvern growing through the falling flakes. Goblins stood around the dragonkin, hands raised in supplication to the beast. As Lapis watched, the wyvern’s neck snaked forward, mouth nearly swallowing one of the goblins whole.

“Play with false gods,” Faes laughed, watching the rest of the goblins scatter. “We’re killing it right? Shame the great Wyvern Slayer is missing this. I’m sure he’d have it dead in seconds.”

“Yes, we’re killing it. But leave Kiba out of this. He doesn’t deserve your hate,” Lapis frowned, setting an arrow to his string. “How do we kill this thing safely?”

“From range,” Faes said, conjuring fire. “I hope someone brought antivenom. Valerie and Khemet will need it.”

Lapis scowled at the hollowborn. Closing his eyes, the amurrun murmured a prayer under his breath, asking the Warrior Cat for protection from the dragon. Warmth spread around them, poisonous vapours rising before blowing away safely. He let out a grunt, and Khemet darted forward, a muttered curse uttered from Valerie’s mouth as she followed the cat into battle.

Before the two could reach the startled dragonkin, an orb of blue flames leapt from Faes’ hand, engulfing the wyvern. An instant later, a pile of ash blew away in the snowstorm, the two fighters brought up short.

“If you were going to do that, why in Bastet’s name did you have me waste a prayer?” Lapis scowled at the hollowborn.

“Waste? No, I’m sure there’s another wyvern around here we can use the spell on. Besides, I wasn’t sure that was going to work, and I needed the wyvern to turn so I could hit the head properly,” the half drow shrugged.

A bit of fire leaked from the kineticist’s nose, and Faes sighed, closing his eyes. A ghostly roar could be heard over the howling storm, a departing soul scoured by flames even as it escaped the world.

“And you decided not to warn any of us?” Valerie fumed, sliding her mace back into its holster.

“If I had, the dear baron here would have never sent his precious pet as bait,” Faes smirked. “What is there to be upset about? We’re all alive. And this isn’t even the real threat. This wyvern is far too small to be much danger. Probably a baby.”

“Tracks lead north to den,” Ekundayo interrupted, staring at the frozen ground. “We must move fast. Snow will cover them.”

“Well, as we were,” Faes smirked, motioning for Lapis to take the lead.

 

“Wargs, wolves, owlbears, and now wyverns. This is an exciting hunt,” Linzi beamed, bundled against the cold as the party followed a path north. “I mean, of course it could be a lot warmer and a lot clearer, but the snow just adds a sense of cold danger, don’t you think?”

She adjusted her crossbow, peering around the group.

“Ooh, and traps! Ranger traps! I think we’re nearing the Embeth Rangers,” she chirped, darting forward with a hand in her bag.

Faes sighed quietly, watching the halfling poke around a glaringly obvious trap. He hadn’t seen it, but the kineticist was not about to let anyone know that.

Two traps later, they heard a bellowing roar and the sounds of battle.

“Your prayer is still up, right?” Faes asked, Lapis setting a hand on Khemet’s side.

Magic flowed between the two as the amurrun nodded. Khemet’s coat was replaced with bits of spiky bark, his maw dripping with acid as his claws gleamed. The tiger stretched out, yawning wide as he prepared for the fight ahead.

“Everyone else ready to kill a wyvern?”

Without waiting for a response, Faes moved forward, gathering his energy. If he could pull off another first strike, the kineticist knew he could at least weaken the wyvern ahead. But he wouldn’t kill it. No, they were coming up to the main event, the mother wyvern.

And his eyes widened as he saw it, five rangers locked in combat with a massive beast. A momentary pause, and suddenly arrows and fire were flying at the creature, Faes’ companions charging into battle before him.

The kineticist cursed, moving to get into position to strike. Before he could reach a good angle, a pair of arrows slammed into the dragonkin’s head, ending the fight.

Ekundayo lowered his bow, a satisfied smirk on his face as he contemplated his victory. The other rangers were not as impressed with the shot.

“Who gave you the right to steal our kill?!” one of them snapped at the Thuvian as his friend wrestled the head from the kill. “We almost had her and then you just show up and end our struggle all nice and neat. You’re not getting this head.”

“Is not for head,” Ekundayo scowled. “Is to keep people safe.”

“Like the hells it wasn’t for the head,” Faes snapped.

“No Faes. They’re right. They would have had the wyvern had we not stepped in. It was well injured before Ekun loosed his arrows,” Lapis interrupted.

The amurrun turned to the rangers, a polite smile on his face.

“I haven’t seen a fight like that since I hunted with Amaros between An and Sothis. Your team is amazing,” he praised.

“Thank you for the kind words,” another ranger smiled. “We’re used to fighting monsters like this in our homeland.”

“Is there no place where man can live safe?” Ekundayo frowned.

“I wish you and yours a good hunt,” Lapis said, bowing his head.

The amurrun grabbed Faes’ arm, nearly dragging the hollowborn away as the group left the rangers to their spoils.

“What is wrong with you? We needed that head for the chest!” Faes snarled at the catfolk.

“We did. But is gold the only reason you are here? Do you care nothing for the people who would have died had that monster escaped?”

“Of course I care!” Faes snapped. “But that gold could have helped people, we could have been rid of a threat to the barony, and we could have won glory for ourselves. You just gave all of that away!”

“No. There is still one more monster to kill. And something tells me the Pitaxans won’t be too skilled at bringing it down. We’ll hunt it ourselves,” the amurrun said. “I gave nothing away. This hunt was to clear the land and to establish good relations with our neighbours. You jeopardize that with your actions. If you want to hold yourself as above others because of intelligence, then act like you have intelligence.”

The amurrun released the hollowborn, heading to check on Khemet. Faes glared after the baron, fire burning in his eyes. He shook his head in disgust, but followed the group out of the wyvern’s den.

Copyright © 2021 Yeoldebard; All Rights Reserved.
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