Monday, March 31, 2008



Parric wheeled away as the moironteau spilled out of the gap. There were too many to outrun to the next gap--not with two wings struggling to keep the voilently fighting Flavius wrapped up and safe. He'd have to wait them out inside a dimensional pocket.

Quickly he Crafted a pocket ahead, a small one, unobtrusive and all but impossible to detect. The narrow opening flickered, a faint warping of light. An instant later, Parric was inside, curling tight and wrapping the pocket in on itself to close it off from the pursuers.

Parric breathed heavily, listening for sounds of pursuit even though he knew such things were impossible. He'd wrapped the dimensional pocket too tightly--not even stray photons were finding their way in to the hiding place. Parric grumbled to himself. He'd been more thoughtful with his earlier pocket, keeping it loose enough to afford easy observation of the external world. But he hadn't been pursued by a swarm of moironteau then, either, had he?

Flavius kicked then, a nasty jab right in Parric's recently-healed ribs. Parric squeezed roughly, as much to express his displeasure as to hamper Flavius' efforts to retrieve the dirk he always wore in his belt. A muffled stream of invective answered Parric's efforts.

The dimensional pocket abruptly lurched. Parric snapped alert, his antennae splayed wide. The pocket shuddered, sluffed sickeningly to one side, them snapped open.

Three moironteau stood at opposite angles, half their combined footheads gripping the edges of the dimensional pocket with row upon row of dagger-like teeth, pulling the haven apart. The fourth waited for the flushed quarry.

Parric sprang forward in an instant, throwing a hastily-Crafted prismatic distortion ahead of him. It wasn't well-Crafted, but it was enought to force the fourth moironteau to strike wildly as Parric shot past. The three released the edges of the dimensional pocket to pursue, and almost as an afterthought Parric reached back and nudged it forward. The pocket snapped closed over the fourth, it's massive footheads vanishing into a shimmering ripple of nothing.

It would take at least for the few moments for the moironteau to fight its way free of the pocket. But there were still three other monsters in pursuit. Parric located the next-closest gap and made for it.

Before he'd covered half the distance, a new moironteau emerged from the gap. And another. Parric veered away only to find more moironteau popping up all across the battlefield.

"Is every gap being guarded?" Parric sputtered in exasperation.

Nearly thirty monstrous moironteau churned across the battlefield, all converging on Parric. The strangling smoke thinned as the measured, disciplined gunfire faltered and dwindled to a the occasional random shot. The charging highlanders had long since broken and scattered in the face of these new, hellish scourges of war. The orderly English lines had collapsed into a chaotic mass panic. The powerful artillery batteries sat silent, abandoned. Cavalry horses spooked and fled, carrying their hapless riders along. The moironteau crushed and stomped their way through the overmatched soldiers, the toothy footheads flinging blood and body parts this way and that.

A handful of the moironteau clambered into the sky, angling to cut Parric off from above. Others moved to intercept his flight path, to block his escape even as others closed on him from behind and the sides.

Flavius began thrashing again, forcing Parric to dip dangerously close the ground before recovering a moment later. An English footman reacted too slowly, suffering a snapped neck as Parric's breast grazed him. Furious, Parric took advantage of the next several downsweeps of his wings to thump Flavius sharply.

"Do you rather I letting them killing you again? Do you?" Parric shouted. "They're wanting to killing both of us just as muchly right now."

Flavius bucked and cursed.

"Shutting you up is an impossibling," Parric said. "I'm not knowing which is worse fighting, you or them. Uh oh!"

He hadn't expected the moironteau to move so quickly, but it'd managed to block Parric's way. Parric banked away from it only to find another dangerously close. The noose had closed around him in an instant--Parric was surrounded. He wheeled in ever-tightening circles, searching in vain for a clear path through the slashing, flailing footheads. The moironteau climbing above him loomed ominously, ready to drop upon him at any moment. There were simply too many of them.

He'd sprung the trap, and it'd proven to be a good one. One lacking in finesse, perhaps, but effective nonetheless.

Parric retreated to the center of the circle, beginning a Crafting. He settled to the ground, ruffling his featherscales to give himself a swollen, bloated appearance.

The moironteau stopped abruptly, startled by the unexpected move. After a moment, when Parric made no further movement--save for the odd kick or twist from the still-captive Flavius--one of the moironteau took a tentative step foward. Then others followed, slowly, cautiously.

"You are owing me so big," Parric whispered to Flavius. Then he ripped out a beakful of featherscales and flung them into the sky.

Thirty Parrics abruptly scattered in the air, flying straight at the oncoming moironteau.


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