Kantoo warned us not to leave the obsidian at night, and now we know why. I cannot describe them, because even in the light of both moons I could barely see them in the grass. They were quick, whatever they were, with fingers like daggers. Their faces were drawn out into long beaks, but looked more like festival masks than anything real.
I was watching the moons rise, playing with my pen after finishing last night’s entry. I may have a few pencils in my pack with which to draw, but my pen contains the only ink I have left in the world.
The moons looked brilliant last night. With no trees to impede them, they lit the grasslands around us like the ever shifting waves of the sea. It was beautiful, eerie. I couldn’t help but think about home. The Festival of Stars is taking place this week, it started last night, and as the moons rose towards each other I could barely keep myself from crying.
And then I accidentally flicked my pen from my hand.
It skipped and bounced off the side of the obsidian and into the grass beyond. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t dare wake Balthandar over something so silly, but I began to panic. I couldn’t lose it. Not now, not after having lost so much.
I crept to the edge of our stone encampment and peered into the crisscrossing shadows of the grass. I could see my pen, not far at all. I knew that I could be quick enough to grab it and get back on the rock before the worms had enough time to surface, but I hesitated.
The weight in my stomach… I was so scared. I gathered my courage, knowing it to be a simple task yet fearing the worst. Then I jumped.
My landing was muffled by the grass, but in trampling it I obscured the pen from view. I searched desperately, images of spindly tentacles flooding my mind. But I realized there were no rumbles in the earth. There was no noise.
I found the pen at last, yet as I pulled it from the grass I had to stop. There was a sound in the grass like the rustle of the wind, and yet something was not right. I paused, crouched and ready to climb back up the rock, when a face appeared in the grass.
Its eyes were sunken and black, its nose a long white beak. It screamed and lashed out at me, cutting into my forearm. I kicked it squarely in the chest, then hammered its face with my fist. There were more, and suddenly I was running for my life.
Panic took over. I’ve never reacted to a threat like this in my life, but my blood was up and all I could see was the grass before me. As my senses returned I could hear them chasing me, closing in from every side. I reached for my sword, but it was not on my back. Of course not, you fool!
I pulled hard right. I had to get back to Balthandar. They started screaming, and then one was right before me. It appeared from the grass like a wraith, so suddenly that my heart flooded my mouth. I rammed my forearm into its throat, its claws wrapping around me. I didn’t know what else to do, so I dropped with it and broke its neck.
It cut me numerous times before I killed it.
I was on my feet again. They were all around me. Then I saw Balthandar standing high above the grass, spear in hand, the moonslight brilliant behind him. He shouted and threw my sword. I caught it just as another of the monsters launched itself from the grass.
It tackled me hard. There wasn’t much weight to it, and yet it took me clean off my feet. I rolled, whipping my blade free and slicing its chest open in one motion. It screamed. I rammed my sword down its throat in response.
Then the rest were upon me. I spun from one attacker to the next, but there were too many. They were fast. Gods damn they were so fast. Then Balthandar was beside me, shouting and whirling his spear so quickly that the grass bent back from the force of it. We killed and rotated, shifting our positions until we were finally within reach of the obsidian.
The monsters just kept coming.
They continually appeared from the grass and, once knocked down, simply vanished back into it. We were cut, bleeding, and terrified. I can still feel the tension along my scalp.
I leapt for the obsidian, swinging myself up to turn and defend Balthandar’s retreat. But one of the creatures was there waiting for me. I finally had a good look at it in the moonslight. Its frame was skeletal, like a malformed boy. Its head too big, its bearing… lifeless.
I couldn’t turn my back on it, so I rushed it. It came at me as quickly, screaming as it spread its claws. My first strike went wide. It tackled me. As we slid to a halt, Balthandar’s spear went straight through it. He flipped it off me and over the edge of the obsidian where its body was obscured by the grass.
Then there was nothing but silence. The grass waved in the breeze as the moons continued to rise, like nothing had ever happened. We sat there breathing hard for a while, the only proof of what had happened oozing from the cuts on our arms and faces.
Balthandar asked me to tie a string to my pen from now on.