By Daniel Meaney

Child of Starlight: Issue 3 – Part 2: Creeping Rot – Part 2

The bolt from her bow struck much harder than the monk had, causing the still airborne mass of monster to nearly land on top of Jacobus. The monk reacted by pulling back his fist, letting his magic fill him; as he punched the monster a loud crack preceded the leshii being planted into the ground. The monk leaped towards Aliene, making it halfway back until he spun around to see the leshii rising from the ground. The monster shifted on its legs, repeatedly snapping its body back and forth, resetting its limbs and head after the assault it endured.

With a hissing exhale of mist the leshii reached out its hand, splaying its long twiglike claws as a ragged moan filled the air. The sour scent of the leshii’s magic filled the air as the monster’s reach expanded over the ground and narrowed on the pools of black sludge. Foul air bubbled from the dark pools as the water boiled violently. Jacobus and Aliene stared as the waters calmed down; from the stillness bulged forms of flowing oily sludge, and they rose out of the different pools as a pack of grotesque wolves. Gurgling at the pair of stunned mages, the pack spread into a semi-circle and marched towards them as the leshii lumbered behind them.

Jacobus backed further towards Aliene then said, “Any changes to the plan?”

Aliene flexed her jaw, eyeing the wolven forms approaching. “Just one; don’t let the water get on your skin.”

Jacobus nodded, raising the point of the short sword he held towards the leshii. “Taking him out should dispel this, right?”

Aliene shrugged, aiming her bow again, and drawing another arrow of magic, the air close to her shimmered, then glittered as the arrow grew. Jacobus rushed away from her suddenly while flinging the sword at the wolves, getting their attention. Four of the oily beasts pursued the monk as two charged Aliene, but those stopped short at the crunching sound of Jacobus ripping up the remains of a tree half submerged in water and earth. The whole pack and leshii turned towards the monk; Aliene then figured out Jacobus’ plan and jumped up.

The whole attack took moments to unfold; the line of created wolves were all splattered beneath the hunk of wood Jacobus wielded. Its length and the force of its fall sent chunks of it flying towards were Aliene had stood until she jumped. The huntress fell, still charging the magic bow, now holding back a bolt that was longer than Aliene’s arm and just as thick. The magic swirled like a torrent of blue water at her fingertips and just before her first foot touched the ground, she released the bolt.

The tip cracked the very air and left a smooth gouge in the ground and trees from the sheer force as it blasted forth into the leshii. The kick had flung Aliene backwards and her last thought before the world darkened was, Hitting the wall of branches is going to hurt. But the only thing she felt was something wrap around her, then blissful nothingness.