“We’ve got a one way ticket to Ket friends!” Hollered Frank. His mace was swinging, but he was now barely standing. One leg giving out. Blood oozed and trickled in a stream from his ears. It was the same with Thrak who was bleeding from the little holes along the side of his head as well. Sal, Zy’an were all the same. Never had they encountered anything like this. This was a new weapon. Or an ancient one. Something that scared them in a way they had never felt fear.
“Slaves!!!!! Surface subcreatures…,” hissed the voices in their mind. “You dare to invade our lair. We are your masters. We will show you what awaits you soon. You will see. You will seeeeeee what you are meant to be……”
Zy’an, even as his mind was fried by the mental attacks of the thing he was fighting, he watched as Iricah had pulled who she could to safety through her dimension door. This was it. He had known this was no cavern as soon as he fell into it. He had known. It is a beast. A great devourer. And it will leave the surface. Ket is most real. It is here, inside this colossal monster. And we’re about to return with it.
A bloodcurdling scream came from below him and he knew it was from Sal. There was only one reason for a scream like that, he knew.
And in that moment, the slightest trace of peace came to him. For he accepted his death, and he accepted that this was the end. He would not scream. He knew that.
And that’s when he knew what to do. The slightest trace of a light, an arc of illumination, nothing more appeared in his peripheral vision. The opening they fell through. If this were a beast, then that orifice isn’t just a cavern hole. It is a mouth! Looking down he saw Thrak, and Frank, now holding their heads in their hands. He felt the vibrations shake all around him, and then, in pure horror the platform beneath him gave out. They were falling.
“You have grown powerful, slave. You will give me much power!” The voice in his mind cut into the fabric of his brain. He could feel the tearing, the rending. It was as if a knife were cutting his head in two. And the beast moved closer, it’s very real tentacles parting to reveal a jagged beak. Zy’an knew this was it.
“I’m actually considering keeping my brain a bit longer,” said Zy’an and with the last of the energy he could muster he jumped down off the platform just as the tentacles began to wrap themselves around his head.
With only the grace and nimble agility Zy’an could have found in the moment, he grabbed onto Thrak, and onto Frank. His magical ring shone brightly. The monk crouched and like a grasshopper carrying two giant packages, he sprang from the platform, carrying Thrak and Frank with him.
With eyes cast upward, he spotted the slight arc of light, and twisted his body around, still holding onto the two. A perfectly timed foot kicked at the aperture and while the beast that was a cave fell into the depths of Ket, Zy’an the monk, flew up and out of the hole that Iricah had seen.
He landed in a heap atop Frank and Thrak. The ground beneath them shuddered.
“That was some trick,” said Iricah.
Zy’an stood and smoothed his robe. “Thank you.”
Zy’an moved his head side to side. “Nor the others. Are these two alive?” He pointed towards the two bodies laying on the sand, the ones Iricah had rescued.
“Yes, they are.”
“Then this wasn’t for not after all.”
The bard smiled then, which was not the reaction that she nor Zy’an expected. “I couldn’t help myself. All the while you were down there with Thrak, and Frank. I just kept thinking about what Areia would have said.
Frank, who had come to, stood wobbly on one knee. With Thrak’s help he then rose and turned to face her. “What would Areia have said?”