EverFrost – Chapter 3

Chapter 3

The creaks were heavier than would be expected of Sam’s weight. He knew what was there and knew he needed to run. This was no place to be, no place to die. His face started to get hotter in a flurry of fear and nerves as he went to take three swift steps back but before he landed the third a rush of black fur threw itself towards Sam at an alarming pace, knocking him to the floor. The snarls were unmistakeable, Sam needed to move, get to his feet but the wind had escaped his body from the impact. The shadows came at him again forcing Sam to shift his weight and narrowly roll out of the creature’s path. A claw lashed out against his left arm, digging the tip of three talons into the top of his shoulder, stripping the dark sleeve to ribbons. Sam screamed out in agony as he felt the blood trickling down his back and arm, littering the floor with drop after drop of crimson; eyes bright with anger and pain, Sam gazed up at his assailant. A large dog-like figure of dark bristled fur stood in front of him, large enough to be human-sized if it didn’t have such a beastly posture. Two slender tails whipped against the air in an elegant dance between each other; perfect white daggers of teeth were the only standout detail to see of the creature’s face, asides from matching pitch-white eyes inches above its jaws. At the end of each limb were thumbless, paw-like hands, with hardened matt-black nails protruding an inch from each finger. This was one of the grotesquery’s that were the only other essence of life here, and the main issue for survival.
Sam’s arm started to feel cold and awkward from his newly shredded sleeve. The fur cloths strapped to his back soaked in the dark crimson blood emitting from the fresh gauges in his shoulder. It wasn’t the largest beast he had seen but it was by no means the smallest, he evidently couldn’t underestimate it by the damage it had caused. Sam tried to use his left hand to reach over his shoulder but the feelings had gone completely; most likely just a severed muscle he would have to fix later if he survived. The beast started to stand on its hind legs, showing off the true height of its near 7 foot body and let out a screech which rippled over the black quills of fur covering its body like water being blown by a heavy wind. Sam knew what it was doing, he had heard it many times and seen it from afar when they were hunting animals that had survived the sub temperatures. It was a hunting call.
He had to act quickly now otherwise his limbs and entrails would be decorating the cabin walls in seconds.
Sam used his right arm to reach back over his non torn shoulder aimlessly trying to grab his weapon, keeping his eyes meeting the beasts. His fingers found it strapped to his back, and with an utter of words magicka filled Sam’s body, his eyes started to shine a blazing emerald as a glow of similar green seeped through his sleeve, emitting from the tattoos on his right arm. The beast’s teeth bared as it lunged for Sam’s throat. The speed of its attack was unrivalled but Sam’s eyes never allowed him to miss an opportunity; time slowed through them and, as he grabbed the staff tied to his back, the bandages that kept it secure disintegrated letting him flick out the blade running horizontally against it forming a scythe made from a metre long old, curved wooden staff and a black stained blade thoroughly cleaned and sharpened daily. A traditional weapon of the Anfurer colonies.
In one swift movement Sam stepped to the side of the beast’s attack, trying his best to protect his wounded arm before bringing down the blade against the back of the Grotesquery’s head. The blade cut through fur, then flesh and muscle before cracking down on the bones of its spine and exiting underneath the neck, the sound of snapping tendons and squeals of pain echoed around the cabin walls.
Sam gave way to his knees allowing the adrenaline to course through his body before his eyes started to sting from the use of his time-slowing vision. A power that he was proud of mastering but only used as a last resort in battle due to its after effects. Blinking ferociously, his sight starting to return to him along with his other senses, in particular the aura surrounding him, that of the Grotesquery’s was fading into the deathly smoke within the house. He wanted to wonder why he didn’t feel it before but his body was tired now and wanted to rest, sadly he could do no such thing because of the faint aura thriving behind him. The creature.
Sam willed his legs to have the strength to turn and walk to the door, it was a heavy task but he managed. Although, he soon didn’t believe he was alive at all with what lay in front of him. Covered in red and black blood was a person, a woman not much older than himself. He was unsure whether her hair was red or blood stained but he didn’t much care about that, he was more curious at the larger black furred creature that lay dead a few metres from her, mangled and burned into two different pieces.
He tried to utter words of bewilderment but only croaks came from him, he hadn’t realised how long it had been since he’d spoken aloud. Shooting pains made him wince as the wound on his shoulder brought him back to earth and realise the woman needed help. As he knelt he soon saw that her eyes had been starring at him the whole time; brown and blood shot, filled with tears and pain. Sam cleared his throat.
“You are going to die.” He croaked. “Unless I help you.”
The woman wheezed which he took as permission to save her.
“This is going to hurt quite a bit and may not give you all your strength back, but stay with me.”
Sam shuffled out of the room leaving a trail of his blood as he walked, feeling his strength and adrenaline return to him he grabbed the leg of the newly slain creature. The huge slash in its neck was starting to heal already. Good, it was still alive. He dragged the beast as far as he could towards her and dropped to his knees again between them. Using what strength he had, he placed his left hand upon the beast with a grimace. More words were spoken under his breathe, different words but the same abstract language and the scars running up his left arm started to glow the same green as before, then the beast started to emit black smoke-like energy that flowed into them filling the scars with black ink. Sam’s glowing green eyes started to sadden and fill with water as he stole the beasts dwindling life force. Once all the scars were pulsing black he stretched back and grabbed the woman’s arm, letting the energy loose into her with a word. Her wounds started healing, organs comeback to life, muscles finding their paired strands and remaking themselves. Soon she was breathing heavier, gasping as if she had been holding her breathe underwater for hours, grabbing Sam’s arm in realisation of her new life. However, her now non-bloodshot eyes were filled with disgust and confusion.
“What the hell are you?” She uttered with spite on her tongue.
Sam was going to react but as he stood his head left him and forced him down to the floor in a small pool of his own blood. His eyes were closing. He didn’t heal himself before saving her. Damn it.
His last sight was this woman’s red hair whipping in a flurry as she turned to run to the door. His last feeling was the aura of creatures outside in the forest coming closer from his right.
Words wouldn’t form in his throat, instead he was met with nothing but a sigh from his own lips. Then cold darkness as his conscious slipped into its last rest.

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