Chapter Seventy: Breaking the Broken

Cairbre took off, injuries and all.

Irian vaulted for the sea, blade in hand.

Namid laid down cover fire arrows pasing between his shoulder blades as he jumped.

James gave the order to raise the heavy guns, hoping they wouldn’t be necessary.

Thor gripped his hammer, sweat running down the haft.

Hariel rowed with all his might, the oars creaking their protest.

Elanor scanned the horizon for the threat she knew was out there, but saw nothing.

All paths crossed on the kraken.  Namid’s arrows found it first, roiling the water as Irian, used to aquatic combat, pressed forward to hack at the mantle of the beast.

He found purchase with the edge of his blade, pressed the advantage, and was soundly repulsed.  He was effectively backhanded by a handler tentacle, his blade flying one way and his body the other.

Namid was already nocking another arrow as he flew overhead.  She levelled a heavy-looking head at the mantle and swore under her breath.  “I’ll bet you didn’t know this, but even water burns, beast!”  The arrow did as she said-phosphorus lit the water in a bright display as a Firefly slapped home into the flesh of the kraken.

Thor caught sight of them first-at the horizon line, where none but aether-charged eyes could see.  He saw the light of the Firefly, Namid’s signature move.   It drew his eyes to the fight, and he called to James at the helm.  James narrowed his eyes and picked up what Thor saw-Namid and Irian fighting something even they weren’t the match of.  And losing.

Irian swam for his blade-down, down, into the deep for that which was his only weapon against these horrors of the Harvest.  He felt a tentacle wrap around his waist, and suddenly he was reversed.  He broke the surface, flying toward the shore, and had the distinct thought that he passed a flying cat.

Cairbre dodged just in time to miss Irian as he flew by.  He watched his master soar over his wings and bounce off the hard, wet sand.  Irian rolled, spat blood, and grabbed an oar.  “If it worked for Musashi, it ought to work for me…”

Irian swam back toward the beast, his lungs burning, his heart pounding, his kittychicken squawking.  Irian knew the furball had escaped somehow, but he couldn’t stop for it.  He had to hope it had the sense to stay clear.  Not very likely, though.

James was already keying up the controls for the guns.  Screens were popping up around his position, as his ship grew armaments unseen since the initial Harvest assault.  Thor nearly found himself heaved off deck as the prow grew a tri-barreled cannon.  Power cables and coolant hoses snaked across the deck toward the weapon.  Thor watched as the ship went from a vessel of wood and canvas to a heavily-armed assault cruiser aimed at the creature on the horizon as his friends held it off from the settlement.

Irian reached the creature with the oar in his hand.  He burst from the waves, oar held above his head in an aquatic version of the infamous bokken of Musashi.  He drove down with all his weight against the leathery flesh of the kraken.  It found purchase the bladed didn’t, separating layers of ropy muscle and ganglia.  The handler tentacle that flung him floated free for a moment and then sank beneath the waves to join his blade, both claimed as token of the sea.

James was running calculations as fast as he could, hands working on multiple keyboards that brought themselves up at a gesture and disappeared at the same.  He could avoid the town, yes, but the two out there fighting were a different story.  He was trying to pin down a trajectory that would spare them too…

Elanor saw a light in the distance.  She roused Hariel from his work, and they watched incredulous as Irian and Namid fought a creature so powerful it would tear the basilisk to pieces.  And as they watched, the fight turned against them.

Namid was soaked, her bow was cracking, and she was almost out of arrows.  Running out of ideas, she hefted a harpoon from the beach and tested it against the string of her bow.  Lying on her back, she hooked the bow around her feet and fired the harpoon with all her might.  As it left the string, the bow burst, the string cutting her fingers to the bone and lodging splinters throughout her legs.  She didn’t care, though-the harpoon flew true, sinking in between the massive luminous eyes.  Blue blood poured in torrents, but the creature showed no signs of flagging.

James finished running his calculations.  Windows all turned red and flashed.  He slammed his hand on the captain’s chair, overriding them all at once.

Hariel stood as Elanor hid her face in his chest.

Namid’s face burned and her clothing caught fire as the heat of the burst boiled the seas at the strike zone.

Thor’s eyes narrowed, but he never turned his head through the conclusion of the blast.

Cairbre was faithful to his master, though.  Even as Irian was turning to press the attack, he fastened himself to Irian’s arm and bit with all his might.  Irian turned to throw the kittychicken from his arm as the beam lit the night like midday.

Namid screamed.

Hariel gasped.

Elanor cried.

James waited.

Cairbre wailed.

Thor watched.

As the beam hit the kraken, sending it beneath the waves never to rise again.  As the beam hit Irian and Cairbre as well, and none saw them rise either.

The flames on Namid’s clothing went out as she dove into the sea, hoping to catch Irian as he fell.  As she made it to where the blast hit, the water still unbearably hot, Irian surfaced, with Cairbre on his head.  Namid threw her arm around the two of them and pointed her head toward shore.

James and his crew found them at daybreak.  Namid’s burns were packed with sand, Cairbre’s tail was gone-and Irian had lost his left arm shortly below the shoulder and his left leg above the knee.  All were breathing, but just barely.

Published in: on December 2, 2010 at 1:13 am  Leave a Comment  

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