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Posted (edited)

Take a Bow


The Ghost Eater


"It's there. The big one. That's the ghost eater."

I indicated the beast's position to my companions with an unfamiliar hand. A Nethari hand today, of poor quality. I reminded myself to dig up a better one.

The elk in question was massive, a full head higher than the rest of its herd. It knew we were there but continued to graze, unbothered. We'd encountered its kind before. Hunger-tainted beasts with a longevity rivaling that of the Crows. Magic vital to our task, sealed away in one of Illara's entourage. I'd call it a cruel joke by the Mother of Cats, but that would imply she cared enough about us to play such pranks. She doesn't. She doesn't care about anything.

It exhaled a faint blue flame. The mark of a beast made immortal by consuming the spirits of the departed. An Ancient thing. A thing we hunted not for meat or leather, but to claim those spirits for our own purposes.

Only Crows will leave this place. The beast has no use for such power.


"Are you sure we're up to this? We had two more with us last time." Koregen asked, knowing he'd be responsible for keeping the beast's attention.


"We're better armed than last time. We know its tricks, and we need what it has for the fall." I replied.


"It's handled." Vanduros chimed in "You keep its gaze, and I'll make sure you keep on your feet."


My companions shuffled warily. It is never a small thing to hunt such a beast, and our equipment paled in comparison to Kane's trial.


"Alright, Kor's going to jump it. Val, keep him alive and if there's any trouble I'll try and give you a breather." I always deliver a plan. Occasionally my men carry it out.


"What about me?" Rand asked. He was new, but enthusiastic. He was the one that had tracked the beast down. Even if he showed poorly, that alone entitled him to a share of the spoils.


"Stay alive. Hurt it as much as you can. We-" I paused, spying movement on a nearby hill.

My men followed my gaze. Their tones dropped to a whisper.


A centaur crested the hill, wearing the colors of the Winterblades. He was followed by five more of his unit. They weren't a bad lot, the Winterblades. They'd taken residence in our temple at the beginning of the trials, and seemed content to squat until greener pastures revealed themselves. They always seemed to be in the way somehow. I'll be glad to be rid of them when they move on to prove their mettle in more deadly lands. They're bad for business.


"Don't they have anything better to do?" Vanduros whispered.

"Apperantly not. I suppose Jah hasn't had much luck scouting a better prey." I replied.


As if on que, The Winterblades scout, Jah, joined his companions at the top of the hill. We sat there for a small eternity, two groups of hunters after the same prey. We watched them, they watched us, and the Ghost Eater watched us all.


"Screw it. Get him."


As I gave the order, Koregen leapt at the beast and battle was joined. It went well until it didn't. Koregen missed a few swings and the Ghost Eater toppled him with a bone crunching kick. I launched it skyward to give him time to recover. Vanduros patched the wound.

Jah and his companions kept their places. Between fireballs I snuck a few glances in their direction. They'd produced a few rations and simply sat and watched. I'm fairly sure money changed hands. They made no move to assist, nor interfere.

The battle stumbled onward, and my men made up for a lack of strength and steel with a surplus of stubbornness and determination. One by one our audience lost interest, finished their snacks, and wandered away back to whatever it is itinerant would-be-kings do when there's not a castle to blow up.

We burned, smashed, slashed, and danced around the beast for the better part of a day, forgetting our audience to focus on the task at hand. It was exhausting. The beast clung to life with the stolen fervor of the many lives it contained. In the end its tenacity proved a poor match for our greed, and Koregen delivered a final crushing blow. It kicked twice and died. He reached inside and collected our prize.

The dead it had eaten were free for a time, until we had use for them.

I wiped the sweat from my brow, and remembered our audience. When I looked up, only Jah remained, chewing idly on an unidentifiable scrap of sustenance. He had stayed for the whole ordeal.

He stood, dusted the seat of his pants and walked away without a word.

I took a bow, and we did the same.

Edited by PopeUrban


Rub rock on face and say "Yes food is eaten now time for fight"

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