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View Full Version : Sir Henrich and the Terror of Wesinburg



Labyrinthine
December 29th, 2012, 06:21 AM
(I'm looking for any critiques, constructive criticism, questions, anything! I love questions for sure; this is part of a larger story I'm happy to fill in any details or lack of clarity. Good feedback for me to go back through, and to connect it all together.)


“Whoa!” Sir Samuel Henrich called, bringing his steed to a halt. Swinging one leg across the horse's back, he dismounted and dropped to the muddy ground with a soft squish. “This is no place for horses...” Henrich surveyed the tiny grove in which he and his steed now found themselves. It presented itself gloomily. Even though the time was not more than an hour after high noon, the sun hesitated to break through the leaf-cover and disturb the darkened muck of the ground. The trees forming the barrier of the grove stood tall and broad, and looked solid as obsidian. Altogether they reminded Henrich of the grasping digits of giants, buried alive, and expired just as their branching hands reached the surface, and now rotted, so as their remaining skin hung off their fingers as near-black leaves.

Henrich stood at a bit above average height, but was much thicker of arm and chest than most men. His hair rested in black curls upon the top of his head, trimmed well above his eyes and ears. His deep brown eyes surveyed the land with an attention learned from years of out-door living and hunting. He had a well-groomed mustache and goatee. A nobleman though he was, Lord Henrich held little love for high-society and all its grand ballrooms and towers. His house, his land, and the people under his charge on said land laid close to his heart. Childish capital politics and social drama only aggravated him. Now he had more important matters to attend to...the slaying of yet another monster.

No birds chirped here as they did along the miles of trail leading to this point. Henrich's prey lurked close now, though it had no idea what was coming to it...the good people of Wesinburg would have their revenge. The monster hunter tethered his nervous mount to a nearby tree branch, and removed his bow and quiver from the saddle, slinging the latter over his shoulder. The strung bow felt poised, sleek, and deadly in its master's hands, its pitch-black and slightly rough, re-curved shape as familiar as an old friend. Henrich reached back to a matching, black arrow from his quiver, making a final check of it. The arrow weighed heavier than the sort any backwoods hunter might use on deer or boar, logically so considering its soon-to-be home. The steel arrowhead proudly led the deadly projectile, all as black as the bow which launched it. Henrich carried his runeblade on his back as well, in a plain black leather scabbard which hid well its adorned and sacred passenger. There would be no use for it on this hunt...so Henrich hoped.

The hunter knew his insidious prey dwelt little more than a mile north of the grove...that there sat a cave, and in it a gruesome beast, and three village children, or what was left of them. There wouldn't be much, nothing displayable for funerals anyway. Henrich gave his horse a pat on its brown, brave head one last time before trekking off out of the grove. “There there friend...I'll be back for you soon.” The creature stared at its master with a pleading eye, but kept quiet, perhaps from genuine respect and calm, perhaps from fear of the woods, and what could dwell therein.

Henrich strode out of the grove with treads quiet for a man his size. The sun provided scarcely more light outside of the grove than in it, though any visibility was welcome. Dozens of yards on, ancient trees still squeezed in close, their branches reaching out over the path on which Henrich walked...a path? Indeed, the thick thorny brush which ruled most of this hilly land gave way to the soft, grass-less ground beneath Henrich's feet in a definite trail. As he continued his journey, a bit more slowly now, first arrow nocked, Henrich noted the path to be blazed with not the roughness of a great boar or stag, but not quite the professionalism of a human ranger. The path inclined now gradually and Henrich up with it...the hunter glanced upward and to his sides vigilantly now; the beast could creep cleverly, and knew no bounds in where it climbed.

An sharp and inhuman cry of terror and pain rang out, piercing through the thick foliage. Henrich froze in his tracks. “The horse!” Sprinting back the way he'd came, the briefly shaken hunter put the immediate loss aside, focusing on the grim task at hand. This just added one more good life to avenge. “Seems I've been outflanked...” he tactically noted. He stopped at the perimeter of the clearing where the poor horse had been tethered.

Sounds which had been muffled by trees and distance now came clearly. The horse was silent by now at least, perhaps mercifully dead, though Henrich doubted it. The most distinctive sound however was one more like rustling cloth or rope, intermingled with a quiet tap, like that of stone against stone. Peeking out from behind the nearest tree, bow at the ready, Henrich saw just the horrific spectacle he expected. He was situated behind and to the left of the nasty beast, which dominated the area of the clearing. It could stand about twice the height of a man if it were to stride on all eight of it's bone-white, skeletal legs, but currently it hunched its fat bisected body over its prey, which Henrich could catch a narrow glimpse of from where he spied. The bulbous, pale, lightly hairy abdomen currently pulsed slightly, as it's finger-like spinnerets excreted foot after foot of white, sticky thread, which the spider's front two arms eagerly wrapped around its paralyzed, twitching captive. The already covered parts of the victim, such as the horse's legs tightly bound against its body, reminded Henrich of the human mummies he had seen in his voyages east. But this “mummy” was still alive. Only the horse's neck and head remained un-defiled; Henrich noticed the two gaping, red and green oozing holes in the meat of the neck where the beast's hollow fangs had injected its foul venom. Those fangs were the same used to suck the innards from victims back in the spider's cave. The horse's one eye visible to Henrich glanced about in terror; if the pitiful creature could still move, it would still be thrashing and baying for its life. It seemed to make eye contact with its master, pleading for the sick misery to end.

Henrich couldn't look away now...this was far from the opportune angle to strike, Henrich simply couldn't ignore his horse's suffering. Henrich took a deep breath, steeled himself. He already had an arrow nocked. He could flank around the trees again, stick the beast with a second arrow right into its brain as planned. The shot would be easy. “Goodbye old friend...” he mouthed. The horse still stared at him as he drew back, aimed, and launched an arrow with a quick snap of the bowstring. The deadly black and silver projectile zinged through the air and found its mark with a soft thud. The horse now looked at, and felt, nothing.

The great spider stopped its movement. It placed the ends of all eight of its terrible legs on the ground, somehow staying atop the mud as it did so. It raised its body and head up to its full height, and suddenly the trees didn't look so large. It began to move each of its legs in such a way to rotate itself fully around where it stood, scanning with its many eyes for whatever had dared to interrupt its meal, and may become its next one. Henrich hid his full body against the opposite of the tree at this, pressing his back into the rough bark. “Come on now, just walk away, nice and easy...” he silently urged the monster, a bit nervously. The spider was not done investigating the area just yet. Its front legs stretched up, their tips flicking lightly in the air as it reached itself up onto a particularly large tree, and began to climb, aware of some foreign presence in its midst. Henrich watched this with his head barely peeking out from behind his own tree, the top of the spider and all its legs visible to him now as it climbed vertically. The brownish-white top of its head, so small compared to the bulging body, stood out vulnerable as well. Henrich smoothly drew another long, deadly arrow, nocked it to his bow. He stepped out from behind his tree now, getting in best position for a shot...he tread carefully, his boots landing on wide tree roots and dry patches of ground, avoiding any noise of the wed mud. He brought the bow to his cheek, pulled back the string, aiming at the spider's gradually moving head... one more big step to the right for the perfectly angled shot into the brain.

Henrich very nearly toppled over as his ankle caught on something; he dropped his arrow and snatched out a hand to grab a tree branch, breaking it with a loud snap in the process. Looking down, he saw his right foot and ankle to now be stuck to and tangled in a barely visible, white strand, pulled taut a couple of inches off the ground. The hunter had become the hunted “Damn it!” Henrich breathed bitterly. The gargantuan spider dropped from its perch in a terrifying display of agility, bringing its many eyes to bear on the edge of the clearing, in Henrich's general direction. It began to creep forward. Frantically, the entrapped warrior flung his bow into the mud, and reached across his shoulder to draw his runeblade. The magic sword slid quicly upward from its scabbard just as the spider was a couple yards from Henrich, who tumbled backwards even as he readied his magic sword in his right hand.

Looking to his right as he lay on the cold wet ground, Henrich saw his outstretched arm and four foot runeblade, adorned in its powerful, perfect markings. Then he looked up. Time seemed to slow down as the massive white spider reared up its front body, legs flailing madly in the air ready to pounce, eyes trained on its prey, fangs lifting up to strike. Henrich moved as if controlled by a divine presence; his right arm lifted up off the ground, the sword-tip pointed straight up, the spider's fangs came down, and the runeblade speared right between them. Lukewarm, blueish-green blood gushed from the hole all over Henrich; the sword pushed further upward and pierced through the top of the monster's head. The spider's madly jerking body fell down still towards Henrich, who rolled aside; his ankle snapped and he cried out in pain. A fang grazed Henrich's right arm; tearing the fabric of his shirt. The spider merely twitched a bit now, rolled to its back, and curled up, sword hilt protruding from between its bloody fangs.

Henrich reached to his right boot, freeing his foot. His ankle didn't look as bad as it felt, perhaps it was only strained. He attempted to stand and immediately gasped in pain and fell forward onto his knees, his face only a foot away from the spider's fangs. “Definitely not walking yet...” Reaching his right arm, he grabbed the leather-bound hilt of his trusty runeblade. He pulled the sword upward; it moved through the spider's head much more easily than anticipated, though this made a squelching sound as well as the last of the sword was brought free. The entirety of its beautiful length was drenched in the goopy, blueish blood and brains of the spider, whose lidless black eyes seemed to stare at Henrich even in death. “Shut up you...” Henrich jokingly commanded his defeated adversary. “And now to getting home to the hero's welcome...”