Perils (Short Story For Critique)

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    For today’s must write Thursday I have chosen a first line from a random generator found on my favorite website for inspiration. Check it out here.
    The door was closed, and as I put my hand on the handle, I felt afraid of what we might find.
    When the guild hired us they seemed confident that we could handle anything that came our way. That should have been the first thing that seemed out of the ordinary, it was out first contract as a group, but in the end the need to make some money overrode our good sense. Thankfully if we so survive the money would be well worth it. Looking back further, it might have been wise to be concerned about the fact they actually were not sure what was causing the problem, or even were unwilling to elaborate on it.

    When we arrived in the remote village of Wanderers Hallow it should have struck us how close we were to the veil. Instead we stared gap mouthed at the stunning mountain scenery and edenesque valley. The villagers greeted us with kindness and smiles like nothing was wrong, they invited us to there home to feast with their families. That should also have seemed odd considering the village was so desperate for help.

    When the greeting and feasting wound down we finally got to ask for more details regarding the mission. The faces of our host drew gaunt and pale. ‘Are you sure you want to go there?’ They asked like it was probably a bad idea. Finally a reason to actually be concerned. ‘No-one returns from those caverns. There are lots of stories of veil borne evil and things that defy explaination.’

    ‘That’s what we were hired for.’ We boasted, for the benefit of all present, but it would fail to impress. It turns out they expected an army, not a misfit band of wanna be adventurers still wet behind the ears. In the end they begged us not to go, but our reputation as adventurers relied on us going, so we went.

    Up until this point there had been little to fear. Yes the veil was gaining a foothold here and that would need to be resolved by the Order, but the creatures where little more than enlarged rabid bats and cantankerous rats the size of dogs. Now we stood here at a door. A strange door barring the way to the rest of the cavern. The runes on the door hurt to gaze upon and glowed harshly with unnatural light.

    On the other side of the door we could hear the heavy scraping of steel against stone that rung out in the pattern of a large being walking on patrol. Whatever it was we were going to have to deal with it to finish the job.

    Stacked at the door was myself, a guardian in steel armour bearing traditional sword and shield. To my left stood our most mysterious member. Dressed in clothes nicer then I had ever worn was a wizard of sorts. He has never revealed much about what he can do other then the liquid fire he can spew from his hands like a torrent of water. His motives were as mysterious as his powers, but for the time being he was very useful. To the right was the only scoundrel I ever trusted. The woman could cut a purse string better then anyone I have ever heard of but never stole a piece. Instead she often rights the wrongs of the thieves guild. Returning that which is stolen from those who can scant afford their next meal. Her daggers were as sharp as her wit and the speed at which she swing those around could make a man dizzy. Behind her was a tribesmen. For those who know of them, they are a fearful sort capable of wielding large battle axes as well as any guardian can wield his own sword. His battlefield mobility was his greatest asset, able to make mighty leaps over foes and reposition for more effective strikes. His care for the fairer sex was his greatest weakness, he had already almost gotten injured trying to protect Feyett from a strike she had dodged fine on her own.

    It was time. I nod and shove the door open while i stride into the room first in all the heroic fashion I can muster. I make it two paces before I pause to take in the source of the noise.

    Before me stood a creature almost two men tall. It’s lower legs made of swords reformed by the veil to suit the purpose of both exceedingly sharp weapons and feet. At the knees misshapen hands and arms form the upper legs. The four legs meet where four bodies that used to be human become one. Around them are twisted tentaxles darker then night entangling to the top where the horrified faces of the victims who make up thus monstrosity form a platform for the squirming ball of tentacles atop.

    “Veil spawn!” I shout in warning as the rest of my group enters the room. I race to the monster to draw it’s attention, if we don’t act fast it will draw more like it to us.

    A glint of steel catches my eye and I move my shield to parry the first strike from the creature. Steel meets steel and I brace with all my strength against the massive appendage. I hear steel scrape across the floor as the force of the strike relents.

    The corner of my vision. Reveals my fear, Kor’Nel had missed his first attempt to sever a leg and cut down its mobility. Thankfully the agile warrior lands in a roll and immediately gain a his footing and starts the hunt for a different appendage.

    I know without looking that Fayette is holding back waiting for the first limb to sever. Her role is simple in this kind of fight, wait for a limb to go down, scale the beast and pierce it’s eye, it won’t die till that happens.

    The cavern suddenly lights up with amber glow, and I am relieved as I chop away the first grabbing tentacle. I am less so relieved when I realize the beast had enough time to form a shield to guard against it. It will eventually go down, but not soon enough.

    The creature kicks at me again, this time harder than I can bear and throws me to the ground. It raises the leg above me in preparation for the kill and I brace myself for the blow. When it doesn’t come I look and see that the monstrisity was thrown off balance by the warrior finally severing a leg. I roll and scale to my feet, I still have a roll in this.

    I swing hard with my sword and clang hard against the veil twisted steel leg closest to me to return it’s attention to me. A flash in my vision tells me that Fayette has the opening she needs and is darting to her destination. I clang again against the leg as I watch her springboard off of Kor’Nel and swing herself up onto the beast. I brace against the next strike from a nearby foot and watch her use her daggers to scale the abomination.

    Another strike against my shield comes as she pulls herself onto the tentacles platform of twisted heads. She draws her dagger back and just as she swings to send the dagger home a tentacle no one had seen coming grasps her wrist tightly and yanks it backwards.

    Two more tentacles strike out and grab the girl as she struggles to free her arm. It’s too late though and I watch helplessly as the new tentacles tense and effortlessly pull her apart in half silencing her scream.

    I brace against the next strike now realizing this fight has just gone against us. A second creature has arrived and will now kill the rest of us while the first needs only defend.

    “Retreat!” I yell to my comrades and strike at the tentacles reaching for me. Kor’Nel makes a leap for safety but as he is about to land the second, larger creature grabs him around his neck and snaps him back to where it now stands near the first.

    I back away while I watch the snap of the tentacles undoubtedly break his neck and his limp form is tossed to the cavern floor. Then in horror I watch as the larger creatures tentacles reach out to the shield the first one was holding and it suddenly reshapes and the spout of fire is redirected back to the wizard.

    Before he can even react the fire engulfs him and the smell of his burning flesh consumes the cavern.

    Panic seeps in and I drop my shield to run. I just reach the door when I feel the armour at my ankles tighten. With a snap I am dragged off my feet and feel my head crack against the floor of the cavern. I am vaguely aware of the tentacles enveloping my neck as consciousness fades away.

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