Xenofos — Valley Of Death
????, Earth Season, Season/Illusion Week
Earth Season/Illusion Week/ Follows from [[[xenofos:Rolling down to old Corflu|Rolling down to old Corflu]]] Followed by [[[xenofos:But this is not the end of the trail|But this is not the end of the trail]]] [[[s02:session-18|Session 18]]]
That night, as you lie on what passes for a bed in your cabin, you hear them. The sound of dragon’s wings.1 fail fear dragons
I smell the bushes that were on the quiet plain and seem to feel the wind.
There, in the distance, is a small form. Her stance is as familiar to you as the shape of the arches on Nochet’s Library.
She looks tiny in the distance. Exposed. Vulnerable, in spite of the sword in her hand.
I look at the road leading towards her.
The road is long, plunging down into a valley in a series of impossibly tight switchbacks, before rising again to lead to the hilltop on which she stands.
A shadow passes between you and Yelm, sucking the light from the air around you.
Yelm? I am not dead then. I give my horse the whip and start descending.
The road is steep, dangerous. Your mount fights you, but acquiesces at last and begins the descent.2 fail and succes on ride The scales of his neck are cool beneath your hand.
I shudder, but remain focused on my path guiding the mount with my knees that should feel sides of a horse, but have vague feeling of wrongness.
The sky grows darker.
The sound of the wings grows louder.
Sweat and dust get into my eyes and I feel my pulse racing. I feel like a pyramid rat under the gaze of a vrok but press on the meandering pile of loose rocks that is the path.
Ride, Xenofos. There’s a whispering in your head now, sibilant and seductive. She waits for you.
There’s something blocking the path. Someone. Troll.
“Step aside, or face my spear!”
I am not slowing down, just grabbing a javelin as I yell my warning to the creature of Darkness.
He wields a mace. A heavy brute of a thing. Dull metal in the ever-growing darkness.
“She looks sweet.” The voice in seated somewhere in the base of your skull. “Juiccccccy.”
I whimper inwards, cast the javelin.
The troll bats the javelin from the air, stepping aside to do so. You ride past, plummeting further down the path. A roar of trollish frustration follows.
I sing the Song of Nochet Greens as I fail to break my neck. For once I keep the tune and remember the words.3 the noble cavalry troop, pass sing footnote text
“such a sweet little morsel” Each s is drawn out, savoured, and swallowed.
It is behind and this is not place to turn for a fight.
You ride, your mount following the twists and turns of the steep path. As you reach the bottom, a river winds its way between you and the hill on which she stands.
The water runs swift and rough, turbulent as it beats itself against the rocks beneath.
Whip the horse to get it cross the river.
The animal twists back to take a bite from your leg.4 fail ride
Dig the heels to its flanks and hit the the head with riding crop.5 succes on ried, bronze greaves take the damage
Your crop slides off your mount’s head. Draconic eyes glare at you.
I try not to succumb to dizzyness under that gaze. Even though world seems to swirl a bit. I give the mount another nudge with heels. ” Forward! You brought me this far, do not tarry now! Spread your wings and fly if you fear Magasta’s touch, but do tot stop.”
There’s a dizzying lurch. The world blurs and then you are galloping up the hill, the water roaring behind you.
Blink. Laugh. I am on the other side of horrified and choices are fall down petrified or ride on despite the sound of wings that feels almost like physical pain.
The air around you is suddenly drawn upwards, as though sucked in by a giant bellows. In the distance ahead you hear her roar defiantly, “Humakt!”
I try to veer a bit to right to have good throwing position for the second javelin and to see her opponent.
She’s still a long way up the hill from you. Not yet in sight.
The beat of the wings buffets the air around you. The immensity of the monster blotting Yelm from the sky is almost beyond comprehension.
I try to continue singing, but words get stuck in my dry mouth when I rush forward on my mount. I quell a sob that is trying to escape.
You wake to the sounds of the sea against the ship and the sailors overhead.
I lie still. Listening to other people under the deck breathing and waiting for my racing heart to calm down.