Wondering about this story? Just getting here? Wonder what happened before? Want to catch up?
Well, you can find previous installments here and here.
As before, this piece in copyright Emily Rush on day of writing and publishing. All rightss reserved. Yada yada yada.
He holds his lance tensely in his hands. He knows that this isn’t the wisest of ideas, but he doesn’t see that he has any other choice.
He realizes that the beast is trying to focus and stare at him, but is failing to do so because he is too close to its eyes.
He once again tightly grasps his lance, ready to give out another battle shout.
Before he realizes it, he’s shouting and plunging the tip of his lance in to the creature’s eye. He continues to force the lance as far in to the beast’s head as he can. He can feel the white gelatinous warmth of the material that was once the eye. He can small the blood as the lance starts to plunge past the ocular cavity.
He feels the lance once again hit something that’s not resisting, but it also not muscle or bone. He feels his lance plunge deep in to the beast’s brain.
The creature lets out a tortured and pained cry as its body can no longer propel itself. Just as quickly as it started charging, it comes to a complete halt. It slides to the ground, throwing him with it.
He lies on the ground for a bit, in a daze. He’s not sure how long he’s been lying there. The last thing he remembers is the beast going down.
He checks his body to see if there are any broken bones or other serious damage to himself. From the cursory check, he can’t see anything.
“This is what I get,” he thinks, “This is what I get for doing this without a healer.”
He sits up in the snow, looking at the prone beast. He tries to stand up finding it challenging. Once he is on his feet again, he tries to dust off the snow.
Try as he might, the snow sticks in every corner and angle of his armor.
He approaches the beast, seeing that its breathing is very shallow. He attempts to grab his lance from the huge skull, but realizes that it’s too slick with gore for him to be able to pull it from the eye.
While he has done nothing but wish death to this creature, a part of him feels guilty for letting the beast suffer so. He can’t offer it a quick death. He stands sentinel over the beast as he slowly dies. Each breath becoming more labored, a whimpering sound with each breath.
And then it happens, quiet. It’s as though the lesser beasts are observing a moment of silence for their fallen comrade.
He lowers his head and takes a moment before it starts to set in that he finally killed this beast. There will be no more destroyed families and razed villages. And while he should feel at peace, he’s feeling something entirely different.
As badly as he wanted to kill this beast, he’s surprised by the fact that he feels numb. He searches both his brain and heart to see if there’s any sense of elation or victory. The harder he searches, the more he feels empty.
His shoulders slump with the knowledge that while he spent months stalking this creature, that its death means nothing to him. He turns on one heel and stalks off through the snow. Maybe it’s not today that he will feel victory, but he will continue to fight until that elusive feeling comes back to him.
Perhaps it will come back one day… Perhaps.