Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Featured Creature: Eagle of Vz

The following is a continuation of the fiction begun in the Featured Creature Spawn of Vz Post:

"I had just finished spreading the salt in a circle around the house when the flames began to show through the windows.  I took a small vial from my pocket and moved to each of the four directional points on the circle.  I sprinkled a splash in towards the house at each of the points. The tincture of blessed oils and water would seal the little bastard in and make sure the fire did it's work.  I had to stick around until I was sure that the spawn was dead, but I needed to be far away when the fire department arrived.  I stepped away from the house and picked up the duffel bag I'd brought with me.

Before I'd begun the cleansing, I shot out the streetlamp near the house with a pellet gun I kept for such occasions.  In cover of the following darkness, I moved across the street and into the woods beyond.  I could watch the fire there and make sure my work was indeed complete.  I heard the fire beginning to crackle, punctuated by wet popping noises.  The spawn was wailing now as it fried inside its fiery prison.  Without several Magi to cast the appropriate banishments and wards, the only way to get rid of the little horror was to force burn it out of this reality.

There was a loud crash from the side of the house and a fat plume of smoke escaped.  Small flecks of fire chased the clouds in the night sky.  There had to be a priest or slave somewhere that generated the spawn.  Perhaps the fire would draw them home.  I put my hand down, checking the knife at my hip, then pouches and talismans inside my coat pockets.  If I had to fight I wanted to be ready.  The spawn's wailing had dwindled to a gravelly bleating.  There was a final loud pop and silence but the crackling of the growing conflagration.  I could hear distant firetruck sirens now, bouncing off the mountainside.  "Not too fast boys," I thought.

When I found out the physical degradations that the priests enacted upon themselves to generate a spawn I felt sick for several days, but I could not bring myself to vomit for fear of what might emerge.  That damned altar was a surprise.  I'd kicked it over when I was gassing the place.  At least they won't be able to use this location again.  The salt circle and the blessing will repel them.  Something inside the house made a deep vibrating noise and a portion of the front wall caved in.  A wave intense heat hit my face.  I quickly moved further back into the deeper shadows of the woods and behind a large tree. I would stay and watch the house burn until I could see the firetrucks approach.

The whole area had become suffused with the orange light of the blaze.  I'd been so focused on killing the spawn that this was the first time I looked closely at the dwelling and it's surroundings.  The house was a newer model with vinyl siding.  The lawn was well manicured with azalea bushes surrounding the house.  Several of them had caught fire and were now were flaming shrub skeletons.  There were young trees planted beside the clean cement driveway and a small arrangement of flowers at the base of the mailbox.  Just from the exterior, you'd never think it held such filth within.  Someone besides the spawn's progenitor had funded this facade.  That means organization.  That means a Congregation.  I unclipped my knife and fondled the base nervously at the realization.

If a Congregation was involved, there may be more spawn and multiple priests and I could be mightily outnumbered.  Discretion seemed more and more like a viable option as I continued to watch the house consume itself. The sirens had grown louder, closer, but were still a few minutes away.  I scanned the surrounding area for movement.  If a priest or priests were coming to save the spawn, this would be their last chance.  The nearest house was further up the mountainside.  I noted it when I arrived earlier, but by the absence of lights within I assumed no one was home.  Something moved on its roof.  I didn't see it at first because of the smoke and the growing light from the fire below, but then it opened its spotlight eye.

I stood stock still and my breath left me.  A sheen of sweat formed on my face and stung my eyes, but I dared not move.  I had only seen one of these monstrosities a single time before.  It was freshly borne and weak from its transition.  When it birthed, it was about the size of a hawk, pitch black, and fast as cat running from a bath.  I had two older magi backing me up then and we were able to dispatch the beast easily.  Now I was alone with this behemoth searching the mountainside for me.  They had called it an Eagle, but it looked nothing like one other than being bird like and predatory.  Where its beak should have been was a twisted tentacled mutation that, like all spawn, spat that acidic black tar.

I was in serious trouble.  A single priest I could handle, feasibly two but this butcher on the roof was easily three times the size of the baby and obviously fully grown.  It raised its head and screeched, pissed off at the death of its brethren.  It shifted its weight and sidestepped on the roof.  When the firetrucks rounded the bend approaching the house, I would take off.  My car was parked at the bottom of the mountainside, a good mile distant, but if this thing were distracted by the fireman, I might escape.

It saw me.

~ To Be Continued ~

UPDATE 100413:
Part II

As soon as the Eagle's spotlight eye landed on me, I took off.  I used the same trail I'd followed up to the house, but I still nearly broke my foot several times running helter skelter through the darkness.  As I leapt over a large root in my way, the angle of the hillside sharpened suddenly and I lost my footing.  I slid the last fifty feet.  I finally stopped, a cloud of dust swirling around me.  I jumped up immediately, knife in hand.  I had landed on the next street down and just several yards from a street lamp.  I could hear the beast screeching far above me.

I vaulted to the base of the street light and threw my duffel bag down in front of me.  I couldn't see the beast yet, but that meant little.  The sky was black.  It could be right behind me.  From the duffel I grabbed the remains of the salt and quickly spread it at the edge of the circle of light.  There was barely enough.  I saw the beasts eye clear the edge of the trees as I began to call the directions.  This time I used my knife in combination with the remaining tincture and directed the energy outward.  Soon faint blue energy tinged the air, surrounding me in a protective sphere.

The beast swooped down but was repelled by my circle of protection.  It came at me again and opened its maw as it passed, spraying black tar in a thick line.  The tar ate into the asphalt and passed easily through the sphere, hitting my duffel and splashing onto my arm.  The duffel began to smoke and give off a terrible odor.    I felt the attack psychically and physically.  My arm stung as though I had burned it with steam and my stomach churned as if to vomit.  My head ached with pressure.  If I didn't bolster my protections somehow, the beast would have me.

The pain, at least, gave me focus.  I put my hand against the cool metal of the streetlight for support and felt the electrical energy there.  I visualized the energy flowing from the pole and into arm then outward.  I imagined an electric blue chaos sphere emerging from within my chest and spreading outwards to match the circle of my protection.  I pointed my knife in the direction of the beast as it approached, feeling the runes on its hilt warm slightly at the focusing of my intent.

A thin line of electricity arced between my knife and the edge of the shield.  My teeth hummed with the vibration of it.  I clenched them tight and imagined my sphere as electrified.  The Eagle moved in.  It sprayed again, but this time the ooze flowed to the edge of the sphere and melted into the asphalt at the outer edge.  The beast roared and flew at my shield, grabbing the sphere in its black claws.  There was a loud static pop as the beast made contact with the shield and we both shook with the surge of energy that followed.

I felt the beast's contact like a punch to the gut.  The creature and I were locked into each other, the electricity acting as a chain between us.  I felt the pulse of the electric flow as the creature shook and screamed above me.  It glared at me with it spotlight eye and began to squeeze my shield, tearing holes in the energy matrix with it claws.  It spit again and a swath of the black tar slid down the side of the shield.  I raised my knife directly at the beast and imagined the surge of energy expanding and pushing at the beast.  I felt a pressure within my nose and felt a pinprick coolness as blood began to run across my lips.  Above me the beast howled.

In the midst of our grappling, a set of headlights appeared further up the road.  A passing car slowed to observe the spectacle.  I could see the face of the driver as pale realization settled upon him.  His wide frightened eyes stared out of the shadows of the car and quickly disappeared as he sped away.  His engine revved loudly and his tires squealed.  As his taillights faded, I could see further up the mountainside, the house burning brightly in the background.  The beast tore a yard long gash in my shield and screeched.  My focus was failing.

The squealing tires of the passing car echoed inside my mind as I watched the Eagle tear fresh holes.  I watched the pale blue energy spark and fade with each incursion.  Faintly, beyond the screams of the beast, I could hear the motions of distant cars.  Crickets chirped in the shelter of the trees.  Above us the street light hummed.  Nearby a dog barked.  I drew it in.  I drew it all in.  I imagined the arrows of my chaos sphere turning, moving inward, becoming smaller.  I focused my intent on drawing in the energy.  Even the scream of the Eagle.  The sound of my own breath.  Then nothing.  All sound and vibration gone.  My chaos sphere had shrunk to a tiny dot at the center of my chest.  Pressure and silence were all that remained.

The air became heavy and thick.  I felt my eardrums shift under the pressure.  I pulled in as much breath as I could muster, but it seemed as though even the air was contracting.  The beast realized what I was attempting and tried to extricate itself, but too late.  I saw my shield buckle slightly at the pressure, then I let it all go.  There was a bright flash as my chaos sphere expanded explosively, racing outward, pushed by the power of all the energy I'd drawn in.

There was a loud THOOM as the air rushed out.  The Eagle exploded in a wall of black goo.  Its remains splattered across the roadway in a slick black smear.  The streetlamp above shattered as bolts of electricity arced.  The trees across the road flared as if hit by a sudden wind and below the hillside, a section of lights suddenly went dark.  Distant car alarms echoed and many dogs began barking.  My teeth chattered with the reverberation of the forces leaving me as my vision blurred into darkness.


I awoke lying on my side across the street, several yards away from the streetlamp.  My arm was underneath me and sore.  There was acrid smell in my nose that I could not expel.  Where it had bled was now crusted and dry on my upper lip.  My mouth was parched and there were several charred marks on my coat and pants as though they had been on fire.  Wisps of smoke lethargically danced across my pant legs.  I'd managed to hold onto my knife.  It was only luck that I had not run myself through with it.  I adjusted myself and rolled over until I was facing the destroyed streetlamp.

After several minutes I was able to stand, but my limbs were wooden.  Each step was an undertaking.  I dug a pin flashlight from one of my pockets and searched for my duffel.  I found it just a few yards down from where I had landed, smoldering and half melted.  Upon examination, most of the black tar had neutralized and the supplies within seemed to be intact.  The thick duffel had taken the brunt of damage.  I threw it over my shoulder and began to hobble down the roadway to my car.

If my luck held, there was only the one Eagle and no other minions.  If any others showed, I was too exhausted to fight.  Between the Spawn and the Eagle, there may be a nest somewhere about, but that would be a quest for another day when there's sunlight and hopefully other Magi backing me up.  Definitely after several good nights of rest somewhere safe and maybe a bottle of whiskey or two.  Perhaps if she wasn't still mad, Deidre would let me stay at her place.  Otherwise, it would be two states drive before I could sleep.

There was a faint haze where the streetlight had gone dark.  Beyond it and up the hill I could see the reflections of the firetruck lights mixing with the soft orange glow of the burning house.   At least I got the Spawn.  The Eagle was a bonus, but it will take some time to recover from this fracas before I be ready for anything else.  I stumbled down the roadway towards my car, focusing on my one foot and putting it front of the other.
~ Fin ~

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