Untitled and Unfinished

by Hoona Byron Stalcup

An energy frag exploded coating a group of men with bubbling, boiling plasma. A sharp pang hit my heart as I watched one of my life-long friends have his head ripped off and eaten by a large dagganoth. The dagganoth were large undersea creatures that were made of rock and had razor-sharp teeth. Up until the last few years people had and understanding with these creatures from the depths. As long as humans made a proper sacrifice to the King Dagganoth, peace would be held between them and us. But, something shattered this peace so violently it summoned those creatures from their underwater homes... A smile comes to my face as I watch our tanks patrol strait into enemy ranks and blow away a group of dags. This did nothing really, there were thousands of them and we need a tank to kill a handful of them. Suddenly, the earth started to quake vigorously. A group of foolish men charged towards the enemy fortress, the ocean, only to be warmly greeted with blade-like arms and hungery dag mouths. As the quaking stopped a massive dagganoth arose from the shore of the beach, its skin resembled steel and its eyes were blood red. It was twice the size of any dagganoth I have ever seen! The monster walked over to one of our tanks and thrashed it into nothing. Our commander saw this and knew we didn't stand a chance, he ordered the immediate retreat of all forces.

Night fell quickly in the Forests of Lerreka, but sleep found nobody. Everyone was too scared to sleep that night, some soldiers spotted a small group of dags storming through the forest earlier. Our commanders tent was alive with angry debates about how we were going to win this fight. Some people suggested we offer more sacrifices, but that idea was quickly shot down with, "They have had their fill already!" So the night went on with no sleep and fearful soldiers. As dawn broke, I took a group of men with me to go hunt for breakfast. Two miles out we spotted a bear about 100 yards away, an easy target for me and my bow. I pulled out an ice arrow, a personal favorite of mine, and quickly strung my bow. I aimed carefully, breathing softly I was just about to fire the arrow when a something startled the bear. Whatever startled the bear leapt from the trees and with one swift movement tore the bears stomache open. The bear moaned, not knowing what else to do, and died. The dagganoth that killed the bear was slightly greener than the ones we had seen before. I turned to my men, who were white with fear, and ordered them to return to camp and tell the commander what they saw. I was going to stay and follow the green dagganoth and find out where it came from.

About an hour passed before the dagganoth decided to travel from his hunting spot in the tree. Now, dagganoths are typically slow creatures because of their heavy bodies, but this one! I had to keep a fair run just to keep it in sight, agile little f***er. It finally stopped in a clearing in the forest, and just stood there as if it had heard something, like me. It held its head in the air and took another deep breath in, then vanished into thin air. I was shocked when I saw this. No animal made by nature could have the power of invisibility unless... My thoughts were interupted as warm breathing was felt on my left shoulder. No, it couldn't be, how could that dagganoth sneak up on me like that?! I slowly pulled my "Syrum 20" bottle from my sweater pocket. I started thinking that the dagganoth didn't know what I was, for it would have killed me by now. Not taking any chances, I spun around and sprayed the bottle into the air. Just as I had thought there it was, completely visable now. The Syrum 20 was specially designed to eat away at a dagganoths rock skin, thus killing it. But, it did absolutely nothing to this one. Well, actually I think it angered it greatly beacause it began roaring a deep gurgling sound. Seeing that I was out matched, I ran. I ran as fast as I could toward what I thought was the direction of the main camp. I was about half way there when I tripped on a mass of clothes and blood. It was the men who I sent back to the camp earlier.

It didn't look like they had much luck going back. Each one of them had deep slashes covering their bodies. Now was not the time to honor the departed I thought to myself. I got up and kept running, it began to rain slightly. As I was running, I noticed a horrible truth... To the left and right of me there were more green dags, each one running at the same pace as me and slowly closing in. My only chance of survival was to make it to camp and hope bullets could kill this kind of dag. This was a impossible chance so I did all I could, I stopped and pulled out my bow and fired two ice arrows at a green dag. The first shot missed and froze an entire tree. Fortunatly, the second pierced the dagganoth right in the chest. The dagganoth started shrieking and tearing at its skin, the arrow worked quickly, freezing the the monster in its tracks. I then pulled a bludgeon arrow out and sent it sailing through the air. This one hit it in the leg, but did its job. The frozen dagganoth shattered like glass upon contact.

While killing that one, I had completly forgot about the other one. Right after that first dag fell to the ground, in shards, I felt a tremendous force pound into my side. The other green dag tackled me to the ground, breaking all of my arrows and my bow. I thought I was surely dead when this happened, I was down and at the mercy of a blood thursty creature. I only wished I could reveal the weakness of the newly dicovered dagganoth to the main camp. Then an idea struck me, harder than that dagganoth tackle. My arrows were broken but not the magic ice crystal arrowheads. My head was dizzy with pain as I rose from the muddy ground, the other dag started to charge me but I leapt out of the way. I pulled my broken arrows from the quiver and tried snapping the heads off of them, I thought this would be a difficult task for these arrows were supposed to be "indestructable", so the merchant that sold them to me said. I grinned as the first arrow snapped with ease, never trust a Dalaforian merchant.

The other dag started to charge me again and I barely dogded it this time. I pulled my black machete from its sheath and smashed a ice crystal on it. There was a flash of steam as the metal machete turned light blue and began cracking and popping. This was my chance, I swung the ice machete with all of my might towards the dag. Upon contact, the blade burst into little shards of magic ice that found there target, in the green dags neck. Another shriek then silence. I was just about to shatter this dag as well, but thought other wise. I would take this perfectly frozen dag back to the main camp to show the commander. Maybe there was an easier weakness, other than ice.

It was a long day, dragging that icy dag "sculpture" through the forest but I managed to make it back to camp just as the sun set. When I arrived nobody seemed to notice me, they were all crowded around a light-blue glowing mass. I dragged the dag over to the commanders tent and left it outside as I greeted him and told him what happened. He took it better than I thought, he just ordered that he see the dag for his own eyes, and so he did. As we exitted the tent, we didn't see a frozen green dag. What we saw was a cold puddle of water... "You say these things have invisibility?" asked the commander as he fell face first to the ground. I jumped back in shock. There in his back was what looked like a floating bloody claw. A green dagganoth slowly became visable again, pulling its blade like arm out of the commander. I stood there, frozen in fear, waiting for inevitable death. My time has finally come, and I was ready for it.

The green dag raised its bloody arm above its head, glaring at me. I closed my eyes... Suddenly, I hear a faint whistling then the familiar sound of arrows hitting their target. I open my eyes to the green dag bursting into flames. It flails blindly and falls. I see 3 arrows in its back, possibly fire arrows. Three of our best archers stand still aiming more arrows at the already dead dag, I tell them its fine now. They hurry over to me and check the commander, he is dead. One of the archers tell me how half of the camp has lost power because something ate through the camp power generator. Later they found a group of dead men nearly burnt to nothing and glowing blue. Twisted expressions of pain covered thier faces.

There was too much on my mind at the moment to take that into consideration. I ordered one of the archers to calm the rest of the camp. That's the last thing we needed, panic. After a good nights sleep, I would be able to think much clearer. I slept in the commander's tent that night, I feared that my tent was far too close to the edge of the clearing. I remember laying in the bed, hearing the rest of the camp spread rumors of how I took on a pack of dags with my bare hands. This put a little spirit in my soul and so I drifted off into a deep, uneasy sleep.

As I dreamed that night, horrible monsters and images clouded my thoughts. Visions of the death and suffering of my men constantly attacked my consious. Somewhere within all of the chaos I heard a small and feeble voice call out, "Help.. me.." The voice quickly left as I saw what seemed to be a openning in a mountain side. It looked the entrance to a cave. From inside I could hear screams of agony, I could smell the four odor of blood vividly. Out of the corner of my vision I see movement, it wasn't much but it was something. In a flash, a hooded figure appeared in front of me and chanted a quick spell under his breath. I felt a surging pain rush through every vein in my body, then I awoke.

I woke to rustling inside the tent. It was slowly beginning to become morning, but it was still too dark to see inside the tent. I snatched my sword from it's place on the desk and sat up in the bed. I tried hard to adjust my vision to the darkness, there was another rustle. It seemed to be coming from my bag. I approached the bag with great caution, ready to strike at the right moment. I grabbed the bag and shook the contents out. A very frightened racoon scurried out of the tent with half of a sandwich. I chuckled at the sight of it. I layed back down, regathering my thoughts when I recalled the nightmare I had the night before. I wondered if it had any significance to the war. A mage, a cave, and death... What could it all mean!

In the distance, I hear a deep boom. I rush out of the tent and look in the direction of the sound. Other soldiers are drousily stumbling out of their tents as well. I look carefully for anything that might suggest where or what it might have been, when a second boom is heard. This sounded a lot louder, closer. I quickly commanded every consious soldier to gather their weapons and prepare for anything that might come out of the forests. I looked around for the archer group, but did not see them. I ran to their tent and stopped in front of it.. Blood was stained on the outsides of the tent and the door was shredded apart. I gazed at the dead bodies of my finest archers, deep slashes in their necks.

I wondered how the dags could sneak up on such an elite group with out being noticed. I cringed at the sight and turned toward the rest of the soldiers, who were now in full armor and bearing fierce swords. After sharing the news of the recently deceased men, morales were at a new low. Those archers had always been there for the men, and now they were in no condition to help at all. I gazed over the men, looks of grievance and despair filled the majority of their faces. I was beginning to think of ways to combat these new dags when the sound of heavy flapping broke my concentration. My vision bolted to the skies. Of course! My archers didn't expect the attack because it didn't come from the forests, it was the sky! I large flock of skeletal wyverns dove from the heavans and into our camp.

This was an attack that caught us all off gaurd. Skeletal wyverns were a tough opponent to face: they were about the size of a large bear, and they had elemental breath, razor talons, and lightning fast reflexes. The vicious beasts slaughtered my men, left and right. Some fell from the skies and landed on my men, razor sharp talons piercing helpless soldiers through their helmets. The swords my soldiers used were made specifically for battling dags, these were skeletal wyverns and much harder to fight with close combat. Swords snapped and bent with ease againts the icy bones of these creatures. Ice and fire breath decayed and killed great men of mine. A large group of men managed to make it across the camp alive to the weapon tent. They emerged with large hammers and maces. I grabbed myself a sturdy war hammer and rushed into battle.

These were the perfect weapon for the wyverns. With a mighty swing I shattered the spine of an unsuspecting foe. The creature let out a high pitched screech and blew away in the wind, as if made of smoke. Were these skeletal wyverns even real? Well, they were real enough to kill my men, so I decided to keep on killing. The flock of wyverns slowly grew smaller and smaller as my men smashed and pounded their way to victory. The final beast was defeated under the force of my hammer. This fight was won.

I stood there, catching my breath and tallying the amount of men I just lost when it hit me. The dream, the mage, the booming, and the smoke! It all came together, like one big puzzle. The mage in my dream, it must have been a real thing. It must have been the one who made the wyverns, that would explain the booming and why the wyverns burst into smoke when they were killed. Though that is probably what happened that still doesn't explain why the booming was moving or why a mage wanted us dead.

I would consider this later, for now my men were safe and I intended on keeping it that way. The camp immediately began packing up their things, that location proved not to be safe anymore. We quickly took our belongings and left the clearing, in search of a new camping spot. We travelled for what seemed like forever until we found a nice spot againts a large cliff. The cliff leaned forward, over our camping spot so we had only one side vurnerable to an attack. We set up camp just as the sun began to set, I demanded that all tents have their backs to the cliff wall. I also suggested that my men stay up this night, if these fierce attacks continue, I wanted my men to be prepared for the worst...

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