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Curiosity and all that

Short story By: chocolategirl46
Fantasy



Be careful what you wish for - is a short story from my novel The Unseen Promise.
It was written for a competition and I have kept it around because I have throwing things away.
The content reflects the body of the work and I hope as you read it, you will see why.
As a way of explanation - The characters / Ferret Men and Mr. Sniff (Grey Man) are Murrdock. They are a blending of animal and human, so when you are reading I hope that my character development indicates just that.
A Speck is a creature that has an addiction to blood and flesh. it cannot abide light of any kind and has a double row of very sharp teeth.
Enjoy - bring on the monsters.


Submitted:Nov 23, 2012    Reads: 60    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


Be careful what you wish for

It sniffed and scraped at a crease in the bone, finding pleasure in the very act itself; there - it found a scrap of meat, the last of its meal. How it felt at home here, the gloom and rich smell of bloodied flesh from their last hunt satisfied everything about him. Long, spidery fingers, lovingly stroked its gaunt cheekbones, smoothing out the facial hair which grew below its eyes, billowy masses of pink hair so fine, so soft and stained black red by old-aged staining. A thin film of skin also colored pink covered the space where eyes should have been, pulsating in and out as if it were sucking and pushing air.

The Speck straightened, cracking bones as it unwound. It sniffed. Dank and wet, a smell metallic beating with warm blood sent Father to shivering. He sniffed again and there drifting on the stale air was a familiar odor, addictive and as strong as a beating heart. The human, Ro'Brar was approaching.

On the end, of each finger tip and base of each foot was a collection of tiny suckers, sticky caps that served many purposes, such as the one it set off to do. Up the side of the wall it went, into the inky dark it climbed until it reached the ceiling. Hanging itself upside down Father hid in the darkest of shadows and waited.

Entering the same dark corridor Kitty smiled, exposing a single row of sharp, pointed teeth, instead of the double row that each Speck carried. Her human traits did more than irk her, it made her feel weak, almost stupid and worst of all the suspicions it roused from the others threatened to topple the precarious spike of power her brother held. Still, it never stopped her wishing, actually it was more like a yearning, a constant stammering that dragged her along in a world of hunger. Specks did nothing but starve, every hour of every day and being only half Speck at least saved her that stupid weakness.

She cursed her mother and meant it, but it didn't change anything. Kitty still couldn't fold herself up and sit tight in the darkest of holes, nor could she hang about the cave walls and ceilings as if she were truly all Speck. Instead, she walked upright and tall, had the beginnings of a woman's body and worst of all, she could walk in the light. Humans and their weaknesses, how she hated being part human.

Like Father, Kitty also smelt Ro'Brar, sniffed his stink and hated him for it.

Ro'Brar followed her into the dark, stopping short just inside the entrance as his eyes adjusted to the murky interior, "Blast, I'll never get used to this infernal dark. It's not natural you know, then again, just look at what I've got to work with." He snorted and brushed at the shoulders of his black robe.

Kitty felt the pulse in her temple drum; she wanted to put her mouth on his throat, to rip it out and slurp noisily on his blood, keeping him alive just long enough to gloat over his dying sagging body. But she couldn't, not yet. Her brother had told her that they were allies, friends. She wanted to spit into his blind eyes for that, what use did they have of friends; after all weren't they Specks.

She laughed, a light throaty sound tinkling the air with its cheer, it was forced but necessary, "Ro'Brar I wish you wouldn't air your dislikes so openly, some of the others might hear you", and she sniffed.

Thin as a stick, Ro'Brar bowed mockingly, "I'm sorry your Highness. I meant no disrespect, but its this new cluster, I fear that their flesh lust is too frenetic; it took most of my strength to coerce them into working together. Running this way and that in some sniffing blood hunt just to satisfy their immediate hunger is most dangerous."

"Dangerous? For whom is it dangerous, we are Specks?" she couldn't help but show her dislike of the bloody man, "Everyone and everything with a pulse fears us Ro'Brar. If you mean the Murrdocks then my human friend, you're deluded beyond help." She sniffed, a loud, rude noise that echoed down the passage. She didn't wait for his answer. His opinion mattered not, he was her brother's pet nothing more and for that reason alone she would let him live.

Upside down Father watched on. The fine layers of hair that covered its abdomen tingled, itching with fury, like Kitty it too wanted to rip out Ro'Brar's throat and feed, but like his half cast daughter, he let his son's pet walk on.

#

Hi'ayman didn't sniff, he never sniffed, even if he did look more like a Speck than his twin, Kitty. Two rows of sharp, pointed teeth, billowy pink hair and finely veined translucent skin; marked this half cast as a Nestling, and like his sister he had eyes, a set of blind milky white eyes. The dreams marked this Speck a seer and with them, this tenable spike of power. They needed him; in a world where structure was nonexistent Hi'ayman was the closest thing they had to a leader.

Her throaty laugh delighted him, it always did and the smell of death as it followed her through the doorway had him grinning. "You're very pleased with yourself."

"I left the bastard down aways, but he'll be here soon, and no doubt will want to bend your ear." Kitty sucked noisily on an old bone, it had once been the leg of Murrdock, a blending of animal and man.

"I won't do it Kitty. There'll be no war while I'm alive. I won't have our Nest decimated to suit an ill tempered bag of blood." He turned; his milky eyes followed her as she lovingly stroked the worn down bone. "I won't allow him to be the death of us."

She smiled, there were bits of wet sinew in Kitty's teeth, but she didn't care. Happiness shone in her almost human eyes. How she loved her life, the need for flesh turned everything to dust, this God given taunt turned it all to a bloody tasty meal.

#

When the visions came, it was always in the early hours as Kitty lay sleeping, her warm back pressed up against his, her breathing even. Images of his mother were the worst. Fruitless struggles against the metal chains that bound her tightly to a Benzine tent pole, fetters of bubbling madness as the ragged woman wailed at every kind touch. He caught glimpses of dirt and colored cloth, strewn and shredded in tangles. He heard his mothers name on the lips of others and would awake in that single moment, crying - Pellimac.

Hi'ayman on those mornings, all tears, fresh from sleep usually brooded, silent and angry. Kitty in disgust would look at those weak tears, muttering the same terse phrase to the brother she loved, "You care too much". If there had been a door to the shared chamber, Kitty would have slammed that too.

Kitty strode the stone passageway, fearless, queen of the dark - royalty amongst monsters. Clicks and clacks all around sounded in the gloom. Ro'Brar followed the slim figure, he seemed to be always watching Kitty's slim arrogant back, a yellow ball of light hung in the air. A ghosting smile teased his usually sour expression as he caught glimpses of pink hair and pointed teeth on the edges of his passing ruddiness.

It set him to thinking. The thing ahead, strutting about as if she owned the place was part Speck, hated and feared beyond any living creature on Tarkeenia, how could he ever hope to use such as these. He almost faltered; a tiny shiver rippled his well tailored clothes. Eyes rounded left, then right, and in a flash, his tight lipped composure was back. Just a whiff, an unseen smell of fear and it would be his flesh the darkness would feed on, so he straightened his back and kept on walking.

Ro'Brar scowled as he remembered Juno's words, the stinging rebuff as the old Mage left him red eared at the Hall's gates, 'It is with a heavy heart that I say these words Ro'Brar, for it carries such regret and disappointment. Oh the weighty tidings and wretched sentiments, I fear that it will one day break these brittle bones of mine. But you need to understand that today I have no choice, as Head of this Order I have been charged to speak these words. Listen well sir, for I will say this but once. We can no longer accommodate your ill temper, your shiftless pose and your empty hand of magic. Our hearts, which were once open, are now soured, so Ro'Brar Mona-mere you must leave the sanctity of these Halls and find yourself a normal life, amongst normal folk.'

The gate had closed with a hefty bang. Bells rang off in the distance, a warning to all, no magic, no acceptance.

He had walked long miles with that ringing bang resounding in his head, he had slept with those hated words, he had eaten with the insult thumping in his ears, but as he stared in horror at the bundle of bones, piled high before him, the Mage smiled. You see Ro' Brar without knowing had stumbled upon Hi'ayman's dying nest. He had stared in horror at the heap of quivering flesh before him, breathless sacks of skin and bone, but as he looked on, he knew with a sick fascination that he had found what he had been searching for. A means to an end, tools to be used against those that stood in his way of success. He would have his revenge.

#

It had taken her months to procure the right company, four young Specks with just enough clicks and clacks to be of use. She had amused herself by giving two of them names, Bob and Burc. They sat in the shadows of a small chamber and sniffed. Her brother was closeted with Ro'Brar, she hawked and spat, a clean gob of phlegm sailed over the heads of the expecting company. She hated having that man's name rattling about in her head.

Well she'd show him, this was her Nest not his. Her hands found their way to her hips, Kitty did her best to assume a charming pose, "Bob tell me again, where are we going to meet?"

Bob opened his mouth, exposing a hole full of teeth, double rowed sharp pointers and shot her a blank look. Much to her disappointment he closed his mouth. She threw out a gusty sigh. "Burc, what about you? Can you tell me where it is we have to meet?"

Burc licked his lips, and in the darkest of the dim light, she could see him grin; it was obscene and yet to Kitty, it was a most beautiful sight. "Down... in the small… valley."

She clapped her hands and laughed.

Hopping from one foot to the other Bob was not to be out done, "In the... night. In… the... middle."

"Yes my boys. Yes, in the middle of the night, way down in the small valley. We will leave, and we will hunt, but it will be our hunt, not Ro Brar's, and we will bring back a feast, then that Magic man will have his reckoning."

The four Specks looked at each other, what in the hell was she on about? Gibberish no doubt but she had promised them blood, and for that, they would follow her anywhere.

#

Master Sniff, a Murrdock of the finest calibre hurried his four companions on, a golden crease stretched out across the horizon, their long shadows stretched out in front, shadows of giants in the early sunrise. "We best hurry my cheery men. I have said that I would and a promise is a promise, no matter how much it may hurt. You know I have always been a whisker away from the important things, but if we can do this nasty thing we can retire, safe and sound to our warm beds and nice collectables. Yes, indeed we will all be rich."

The grey, furry Rat Man lifted his longish nose; his excellent sense of smell had always kept him one step ahead of the dogs. His thin hands smooth down his maroon doublet, Master Sniff like the finer things.

His four companions marched behind, a staunch lot, quiet, efficient, and purposely deadly. These Ferret men, tall and slim with their very pointed faces, generally kept to themselves, reporting only to the thieves' guild if called upon. Thank God the Silent Man didn't call all that often. For years, they had been Master Sniff's bodyguards and companions, his loyal men in arms. Undistinguishable in looks, these Murrdocks numbered themselves from one to four and answered as such, for it pleased them to do so.

#

On their second day, the Murrdocks stood on the top of a plateau. Signaling to Ferret Man One, the grey Rat Man brusquely set out his orders and the long, lean Murrdocks bent their backs to setting up camp. The copse of umbrella pines looked like a brace of standing parasols, fixed tight between the rocky crops, a perfect setting.

Master Sniff walked to the edge and peered; squinty eyed this way and that. The way down into the valley tomorrow would be a slow one.

"We fixed us a small fire Master Sniff. The beans won't be long now, then we'll tuck down for the night. Is the way right for tomorrow?" Ferret Man Two as silent as his brethren stepped up beside the grey Rat Man.

"First light my cheery man and we will enter the valley to replenish our water sacks. I know of a running spring down there, among the shadows." He wrinkled his long nose.

"Specks," whispered Ferret Man Two.

"Perhaps." Master Sniff whispered back.

The Ferret Men sat around the remnants of a smoldering fire, their purpose was to watch his back and keep his company, hold tight his secrets and never, ever speak of what they did.

"We need to make the most of the sun, so hurry my dears, it will be in the shadows that they might hide." Master Sniff held thin hands, palms upwards in mock apology," I'm not saying they're there, but you know as well as I that they like the dark. Nasty things such as they are..." He sniffed his distaste at the very thought.

"Right you are me cobbler. We'll see this through together, won't we lads?"

Ferret Man One stood up and stretched, then kicked dirt into last night's warmth.

#

They skulked into the small valley, just as she had promised. They hugged the shadows for the darkness was their friend, their mother. They skirted around rocks and boulders, bushes and thorny bracken, crawling belly down through the undergrowth and sometimes, when the fancy took them, they climbed into the trees. The bottom of the basin teemed with thirsty critters, a drove of rabbits nibbled delicately to one side of the natural spring; a red tailed fox eyed the all as he lapped the cold, clear water.

With a hissing snarl, the nameless two Specks having only half a brain each way bounded out front and went in chase of the rabbits. Burc and Bob looked on, they knew enough not to run ahead, after all hadn't she given them names and called them her boys.

Clucking her tongue in mock dander, Kitty waved to the remaining pair, "Well what are you waiting for? I promised you a feed, and if you hang back, your bellies will be the death of me." She grinned, and they looked adoringly back, the pulsating skin where their eyes should have been thrummed in blood lust.

Long, spidery fingers as pale as chalky bones stretched out to touch the hem of Kitty's tunic. "When its light we'll wait here in the shadows and when the deer come for water we'll have more than enough to eat. Just you wait and see."

Kitty stood over them in splendid austerity, her hands pushing down hard on her hips. The Specks salivated as their addiction screamed within, their long limbs, all bone and skin quivering in anticipation of her pledge. Dribbling Kitty fantasized about her victory over Ro'Brar, how she hated that human.

#

They chose their path carefully. Unlike the Specks, this group tried to keep in the rising light. It was a tricky business. Master Sniff took the lead, and his fellows clambered not far behind. Ten sets of short legs and ten sets of eyes watching every step down, it wouldn't do to slip an ankle or twist a toe. They ate their morning meal cold, nice hard bickies, full of grain and honey just the way they liked it, wonderful Master Sniff.

Faint embers of orange and red began to light the valley bowl. To the left of them a small pool of clear water bubbled, nestled amongst the boulders with blue reeds and long stalks of deep indigo flowers, swaying back and forth in the soft breeze. Tiny frogs sang to the deep baritone of much larger frogs. The Rat Man stopped, and the Ferret Men, each with a full sack on their backs began to dook, in soft noises as their employer sniffed the air. It was not the common tongue but sometimes it felt right to remember their mam and her family speech.

He walked a little way apart, whiskers trembling, the Rat Man breathed deeply. He sniffed and sniffed, turning his sharp head this way and that, sifting the air for signs. Alarmingly the smell of filth flooded his nostrils, burning its hairs and filling his senses with dread, there was only one thing he was more afraid of than the living poor and that was Specks.

Turning back to his fellows Master Sniff urgently conveyed his findings, "Oh my, oh my cherry fellows, I have bad news most fittingly for fast flight. Indeed we must make plans and not be the end of some filth's lunch."

"How close Master Sniff is its stink?" Ferret Man One with his narrow jaw unfurled thin lips, exposing a mouth full of very sharp teeth.

Ferret Man Four set about to rummaging through his pack, out came a handful of long, wickedly curved knives.

Ferret Man Two stepped up, "Cobbler if it pleases I would like to take the end march." He grinned and held out a flat bow and a half a dozen shafts.

#

She watched them approach and counted five, strange creatures, walking upright like men, wearing cloth around their bodies like men yet they were not men, they were strange creatures of fur and skin. No matter everything became dust after a drink of squeaky, clean blood.

Kitty's confidence soared; they were only furred man animals, less than nothing, weak. She watched and waited, they got a little closer to the darkest of her hidey hole shadows and just as she was about jump up for a munch, the grey one stopped. They all stopped.

She stared so hard they should have fallen down dead and for the first time, she began to doubt; this advancing troupe was only four. She could have sworn there had been five. Oh well, not to worry, she would go to them with her faithful's and eat them all up.

Signaling to one of the nameless Specks, Kitty pointed with her hand for it to take the animal man on the left. Tapping the other nameless one on the head she gave him the nod to run down the other two. Wiping her wet chin with the back of her hand, she took a deep breath and set her sights on the Rat Man.

Moving quickly, Kitty and her Specks rushed forward.

#

Master Sniff readied himself and his merry fellows did the same, all hands went to the knives, and the missing cheery chap hiding behind a large rock smiled all the while as he notched a shaft to his flat bow. The sound of the bubbling pool kept him company.

The youngest Speck, so eager to eat rushed out in front. His belly was beginning to swell; the addiction to feed was so great that there was little room for any other thought. Closer and closer, salivating as the screaming in his body pushed him on. Ferret Man One readied himself.

Poison tipped, Ferret Man Four's shaft hit the youngest in the eye, bursting it like an over ripened quince and the Speck dropped on the spot. Ferret Man One saluted the hiding place of his brother and with a wink, rallied to help Master Sniff.

Ferret Men Two and Ferret Man Three pulled out their knives and dropped down as the loping nestling rushed at the pair. The Specks mouth snapped open and shut, exposing a double set of nasty razors, it shrieked for blood. Launching off the ground the monster collided with Ferret Man Two, who under its weight fell to the ground. A plume of dust covered the tumbling bodies as the Specks teeth snapped in blind frenzy, it bit down.

Poor Ferret Man Two went limp, his throat now a messy blotch of red, the light from the Murrdock's eyes faded away. The frenzy picked up speed, and the Speck noisily slurped his fill. Blood soaked into its chin hair and dripped onto the ground around them both.

Ferret Man Three snarled and rushed at the busy Speck, slashing wildly, down arced the glinting knife and off flew the nestling's hand. The creature barely noticed. Another stab and this time Ferret Man Three punctured a lung, the flesh eater slowed its slurping. Drawing in noisy mouthfuls of air it turned to try his luck again, foolish monster, it received a slash to the throat. Slumping over the body of the mangled Murrdock, the Speck died.

Kitty's concentration for what it was worth was on Master Sniff. He flicked his wicked knife from hand to hand.Ferret Man Four had come down from the boulders; he looked on with a face full of sorrowful rage. Over to the side his brethren laid dead and as far as he was concerned someone had to pay.

Kitty leapt at the grey man, and as she did so, she twisted her body, slamming both her feet into his stomach. Falling backwards, it sent the thin Murrdock crashing to the ground. Ferret Men One and Ferret Man Three ran in on opposite sides. Kitty grabbed at the first one and bit off two of his fingers, moaning he sat down on the spot.

Ferret Man Four had, had enough, he placed a shaft into his flat bow determined to put an end to the fiasco. He would not lose another brother.

Master Sniff scrambled to his feet, calling to Ferret Man Four as he did so, "Quick my cheery chap fetch the net. "I want this one alive."

Ferret Man Four looked at him as though he was mad. Still, loyalty went a long way on a full purse; he spat, a full mouthful of the wet stuff and did as he was told, he speedily grappled for the net.

#

Bob and Burc, out of harm's way watched as their goddess failed to keep her promise. The valley floor once covered in shadows was now lit in sunlight, so they did what all good Specks should, they sunk back into the darkened crevice to sleep the day away.

Ferret Man Three got behind Kitty, knocking her down and pinning her in the dirt as she snapped and snarled curses at him. Her pale downy facial hair, blood soaked, bristled with anger and indignant muscles strained under his confinement. Locked down tight and netted like a fish the half cast stopped struggling and watched, after all what else was there to do.

"You're dust, you're all dust," Kitty screamed.

Silence met her angry words; it was as if her voice had fled with the wind as it slipped out at the end of the narrow valley. Frayed voices and distressed dooking shook the air.

"I wants her dead me lord, as a flayed eel I want it strung up." Ferret Man Three argued.

Ferret Man Four held up his knife and nodded. Ferret Man One didn't say a word; the only sound coming out his thin mouth was a low hiss. He nursed his damaged hand with a hateful stare. Master Sniff listened quietly, as he always did, but everyone knew that in the end, the thief and smuggler would have his way. They would sell her, to the humans if need be and the money, well that of course would be split five ways. The Ferrets mam would get the dead kits share.

Stomping over to Kitty, Ferret Man Four squatted several feet away, glowering at her, he sneered in abject distaste and whispered, "Should have put one in ye when I had the chance Speck. But not for me employer's generosity I would have dropped ye for sure."

Kitty pulled her lips back over her sharp, pointed teeth, "Well you didn't, did you, you ugly pointy faced bastard."

He hawked and spat at her; the foul gob hit her squarely in the face then the sad fellow turned on his heel and left laughing softly to himself. Kitty tipped her head sideways, the Ferret Man's spit slid into the hair on the side of her face, wetting the dried blood of his brother. She opened her mouth, laughed along with him, long and loud, they were weak, all of them and she would, when the chance prevailed avenge his insult.

They left the small valley, ignoring Kitty's screams and hurling curses as she was dragged along. Every rock, every grain just added to the list of 'How they will hurt.' She had to admit, just quietly to herself as they left her Nest far behind that perhaps things weren't quite going to plan.

#

It had been three weeks since Kitty's disappearance, and Hi'ayman still refused Ro'Brar an audience. His only constant companion was Father, a Speck of the most unusual makings, an enigma unsolvable even to his son. Ro'Brar paced back and forth in the outer chamber, fuming at being left to look the fool. He had worked hard these many months, intimidating and terrorizing his small band of Specks into a coercive mob. He had his own plans, and they didn't include the Seer or his foul-mouthed sister.

The walls and the ceiling in the outer chamber were beset with Specks, the stale air bristled with tension, and for the first time in a long time, Ro'Brar felt a tightening of nerves, he chewed over the possibility of rebellion. It had taken him months to ensnare the goodwill of the Nest, but now that Kitty was missing, all his glory moments were beginning to fade.

He had to do something about the Seer, Hi'ayman had become obsessed with his sister's desertion, that half cast bitch. If he was lucky she'd be found lying at the bottom of a lonely crevice with a broken neck, maybe then he'd get the attention he so deserved. . Meanwhile, his monsters had to eat, and he had to keep up appearances. He looked about; up to the ceiling at the many teeth bearing down on him, he screwed up his nose at the smell of old blood and rank meat.

"You've got to be shitting me," he mumbled, "this is hopeless, unless something is done the stupid bastards will starve." Angrily he took one last look about, noting the ravaged appearance of the gathered assembly, their bloating stomachs stretched out over bony, emaciated frames.

Something wet and steamy hot brushed past his ear. Did he want to know what it was? Gingerly a hesitant hand reached up to his shoulder, fingers wiping at the sticky gob of blood soaking through his fine linen shirt. "Disgusting," he growled.

Ro'Brar raised his hand; intent on knocking one more time but the scuffling and overly loud sniffing just behind the other side of the door stayed the knock. Grimness wrapped him tight as he stormed away. He would leave Hi'ayman to his dreams, what he needed now was a quiet place to think.

It was a blessing, this endless, unexplored grotto. The Specks had more room than they knew what to do with, dark dank corridors and inky pitch caverns with corners so black that even their clicks and clacks were lost in the gloom. It stank of death, it reeked of blood, it was home and they for once in their own way they were glad for it.

To one side lay Kinaloch, a rich grazing ground for his small army, home to the Murrdocks and above them, built deep into the rocky confines of the mountains lived the Machobe Dwarves. Masters of metal and precious gems, of glass and iron, the dwarves were a race feared and loved, in tunneling as well as craft.

Outside in the fresh air, away from the smell of Specks and old blood, Ro'Brar walked a ways, he was no longer afraid of the night, the sounds of evening life a comfort, as much as it could be to a human living among Specks. Past the three trees that sat to the left of the entrance, down a short incline to a clump of boulders, this place was quiet. He had a comfortable stone, his thinking seat where he could sit and plan, a place to practice magic.

A singular speck sidled down the incline, dogging his steps like a faithful pet, the strip of skin where its eyes should have been, sucked in and out as it looked for the Mage. Ro'Brar lips twisted into a savage smile as he parked himself on his stony throne, 'It's going to be just fine.' He thought.

#

Hi'ayman didn't feel well, not surprising since he had not eaten for days and his addiction, hotter than fire lit his body with pain so bright that he felt as though he could light the room with its heat. Father clicked and clacked his distress; he had come and gone many times throughout this vigil. Bowls of water laid scattered about the floor, they had shown him only pain and darkness. Where was Kitty? How could she endure such hurting?

A voice thick with loathing pushed its way into his hazy world and Father, protecting the last of his children snarled.

"My God just look at you. Have you no thought to the others out there?"

The old Speck hissed, edged a little closer but Ro'Brar only smiled.

Hi'ayman purposely kept his back to the Mage, "Go away human. You're of no use to me now. It's she that must be found without her we are lost don't you see. It is she that they cherish. Be gone and don't come back if you value the life you so love."

Father needed no encouragement and with frightening speed the older Speck threw himself at Ro'Brar. But he was not quick enough, no indeed for all it took was a flick of fingers and a string of ugly words. The Speck called Father exploded. It was as simple as that, not so much as a tooth was left to say he had once been.

Hi'ayman stood; rage replaced his world of dreams. "You dare. You, who have existed on my say so, do you think yourself greater than a Speck. You're human, nothing more and certainly much less."

The Seer for all his failing health drew himself up and with a voice, harsh and unforgiving called upon the Nest. Tonight they would feast; in their own house his Nestlings would drink the blood of Ro'Brar. Scratches and clacks filtered down the passageways and all too soon the chamber were filled with salivating Specks. They hung from every space, watching and waiting. It wouldn't be long now.

"Look about you Ro'Brar for these hungry teeth will be the last things you will ever see." Hi'ayman laughed then, a little hysterically for Father was gone, as far away as his Kitty.

"So you say …" Ro'Brars voice was a hurt in his ears and to his amazement it was the last thing his ears took with them as the room exploded.

The Nest fell upon their Seer like a bleak winter's storm, devouring him as they did their best to please their new God, for he had promised them food and more. For he had shown them the way, there was so much food in the mountains beyond.

#

Night fell, and it was over. The bitch was gone, who knew where and who now cared. He smiled at the thought, now he could go about his good work, now he could seek revenge and finally get the peace he so needed. First thing first though, he needed to think, and there was only one place where he could go for such a measure. Past the three trees that sat to the left of the entrance, down a short incline to a clump of boulders, it was his quiet place. He had a comfortable stone there, his thinking seat where he could sit and plan, a place to practice magic.

One step, then another into the dark, a yellow ball of light hung overhead to see the way. Arrogance and the sheer audacity of his puffed up ego blinded good sense, in fact any sense for that matter as he walked on. Step after step, in the dark, towards his rocky throne and the lanky one that loved him so. Adoring any and all oversights of human failing bounded like he always did after the Magic Man. Hurrying to catch up the Speck threw himself high and missed, he never missed, but it seemed that it was an unlucky day for all.

Down crashed the monster, twisting awkwardly in the process and as he rolled, the Speck careened into Ro'Brar, who with the next step caught his foot in a hole.

Snap, the cracking sound of bones. There was no time for a shouted word, for the exiled Mage lay dead, as dead as the rest.





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