Gidron's Assignment Part 2
So sorry this took so long! Life has been a little crazy and I was out of the country for a bit. Again, please let me know if something doesn't quite fit or if you have any critiques. Here is a link to Part 1.
Composing himself, Gidron closed his journal and tucked it away once more. After three pats to his chest, he began to pursue the creatures from the trees. He had seen many friends fall to the corruption of this world, but he had been lucky enough to profit from it. His toe pads and mucus covered arm made him adept at navigating in the canopy. Quietly, he followed the two creatures as they shambled along on the ground below. Gidron made a mental note of how awkward their movements were above ground. The carefully crafted tunnels he had found winding throughout the forest implied an elegance that these creatures did not emulate above ground. For hours, he followed the creatures deeper into the forest. The scenery below became shrouded in underbrush. Hills and small gullies formed along the forest floor. Rapid changes in elevation and foliage made it difficult for Gidron to continue after the creatures. When he was sure he would be unable to continue his pursuit, the creatures came upon a ravine in the side of a gargantuan tree. Its root system was a perversion of nature. Each of its roots were as large as the trunks of the surrounding trees. They stretched above the ground occasionally touching it like waves. The ends of the roots had smaller fibers that spread over the earth. Pulses of the blue magic radiated around these focal points.
His curiosity was piqued by the influx of magic in this area. He stretched his arm towards a nearby tree to commune with the magics below. A small voice inside made him rethink this action. What if I am found because I connect to this area? What if the tree somehow consumes my magic due to my proximity? He concluded that to commune with the tree was far too dangerous without more information. Instead, he pulled out his journal and began to document the scene below.
The creatures neared the base of the ravine in the tree. Upon their approach, they began to hiss and snap towards the opening. Four more of these creatures came out to meet the envoys. Few moments passed as the creatures seemed to communicate. Together, they re-entered the ravine and the forest grew quiet. Gidron decided to quickly find himself an area to camp out. He lowered himself through the canopy to a height that was more conducive to setting up camp. Having lived in the forest some time, Gidron had become accustomed to remaining a few meters above the underbrush. Gidron made two vertical slices on two skinny trees where he had decided to make his stay. Using his arm, Gidron pulled long strands of malleable sap and began to fashion a hammock between the trees. The process was strenuous, but Gidron had become accustomed to the task. His bright yellow eye darted around as he worked, he knew better than to assume he was safe anywhere. When his bed had finally been complete, he sighed as he lowered himself into it. He pulled out his journal and began to record what had transpired.
He decided to name the creatures Hasar. He noted their movements above ground, the seemingly labored slithering that implied a discomfort that Gidron hoped to utilize. Gidron took note of the biodiversity of the area around himself. He had rarely ventured so deep into this part of the forest, but he had familiarized himself with many of its residents. He ran his mucus covered arm across a vibrant, pink flower head. At his touch, the sepal retracted and the branch it had entwined itself around began to glow. Gidron knew that this clever tree lured its food with these false flower head traps and that once touched, the tree became extremely adhesive. He smiled at this marvel of nature for it fascinated him how the world had evolved through the corruption. With this satisfaction, he fell into a much-needed sleep.
A sharp pop erupted from the dark recess of the forest. Gidron bolted up in his hammock, his booklet falling off his chest. He scrambled to try and catch it but lost his balance in his bed and fell to the ground with a resounding thud. A jolting pain shot through his side. Wheeling around, Gidron realized he had fallen on the Joora Bush. The bush’s leaves were as sharp as knives and they left tiny needle like spikes in his flesh. He cried out as the pain disoriented him. Quickly grabbing up his booklet, Gidron attempted to stabilize himself. He knew that his outburst would not go unnoticed by the predators of the forest.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: ((Please let me know if the following stream of consciousness writing is distracting, doesn’t fit, needs a better differentiation, etc. Thanks!!))
Stupid, stupid! He thought. I can’t believe I could be so careless. I need to move quickly before I can stop this bleeding. Hopefully there’s nothing around that can follow my trail before I have a chance to recuperate. Gidron examined the deep gashes in his side. Even the needles are in me! If I don’t act fast, the poison will start to erode my stomach. He pulled out an intricate dagger and sliced through the hammock he had made the previous night. He wrapped some of the sap around his arm and began to commune with the magics of the forest. The poison stopped its colonization of his body as the magic combatted it. Gidron released a large puff of smoke again and began to climb back into the canopy. I know that won’t stop the poison, but it buys me time. Please don’t let one of the Hasar have heard me.
The forest began to ache as he climbed, the foliage below had grown to life in the absence of wind. Gidron was confused at the sudden outburst from the forest. Without the nightly routine, the forest rarely came alive in such a dramatic way. However bizarre the reaction, Gidron was thankful for the distraction as it allowed him to increase his pace upward. As he reached his comfortable height, he decided to look below himself. The branches were churning below him, leaves were thrashing through the air like razor blades, and birds were launching through the gaps below. The marvelous cacophony appeared to be random, but the longer Gidron observed, the more certain he became in its impossible, deliberate fluidity. Through the chorus of the forest below him, Gidron could hear the shrill cries of an animal. His eyes widened as he recalled the mien of the beasts behind those cries.
Forest Dreks were a fearsome creature that Gidron believed to have been closely related to drakes before they were corrupted. Their shrieks had the echoing vibrato that exemplified a dragon’s roar, but the sound that escaped their lungs started as a deep roar that grew into a high-pitched scream. Their screams would end in rhythmic cry like a raptor that they used to communicate across great distances. Their elongated bodies could twist with such ease that traversing up trees was an easy task. Their claws were bright red and were used to revert magic that passed through them. Dreks would snake up into the canopy and then launch themselves using their claws at great speeds when a prey had been found. The part that truly terrified Gidron, was their heads. Dreks’ heads, when still, appeared to be a simple snout, like a lizard’s, with large yellow eyes. When a Drek was on the hunt, however, their head begins to twist into a rotation that is so violent, quick, and erratic that it appears to have multiple heads in rotation. Their mouths become agape and their red teeth shine bright through the confusion.
It was these teeth that first caught Gidron’s eye through the abyss below. He reached out to some dull, brown fruit that was hanging on a tree beside him. He pierced the skin at arm’s length with his dagger. He dropped the fruit above the approaching Drek below and cursed as it flew past his snout. Gidron repeated the procedure and missed again. The Drek was bleeding profusely, presumably from the onslaught of the forest, but his hunger was not sated. Gidron knew his blood was like a magnetic drug for the beast below. Gidron grabbed another fruit and drug it across his wounds, covering it in his own blood. He punctured its skin once more and took aim. The shriek of the Drek below was like the hypnotizing clang of two skilled swordsmen locked in combat. Gidron launched the fruit and the Drek quickly engulfed the bait. Gidron immediately began to whirl around, trying to find somewhere he could jump. A platform made of branches caught his attention and he lunged forward. The pain in his side erupted as he landed heavily on the platform below. Turning himself over, Gidron watched as the Drek twisted to continue its pursuit. In an instant, the Drek’s head ceased its terrifying rotation and its body became limp. It plummeted through the branches until it got caught on a tenacious, tangled trunk in front of Gidron. Once its body was motionless, echoing cracks deafened the air as roots began to sprout from its body. The roots twisted around the trunk as the Drek was encased inside.
Gidron relinquished a slight smile at the sprouting plant before him. This fruit had saved his life yet again, and he did not think it would be the last. He began to connect with the tree whose limbs had cradled his fall to replenish his magical energy. He knew his time was short before another Drek would be on his trail. He leeched from the tree until the poison had been completely eradicated from his body. The needles that had been left in him would be dealt with by his immune system in time, but the poison would have slowed his plans for the Hasar. The last selfish act towards the tree was to extract a small amount of sap and wrap his bleeding side. With the poison removed and his bleeding handled, Gidron took notice that the blender created by the forest had stopped completely and he was enveloped in silence once more.