Chapter Eighty-Five: That’s No Deer

“The tracks lead this way.”

“That they do.”

“So where are you going, strange one?”

“Watch.”

Irian jumped straight up twelve feet to an overhanging branch and motioned for the others to hide themselves.  It was well he did, because even with their aether-charged bodies they were stunned by Irian’s new ability.  Just as they hid themselves, a gigantic elk passed under the branch Irian was sitting on.  Irian calmly balled up his fist and knocked in the top of the elk’s skull.  The massive animal, all 12 feet of its rack first, crashed to the ground.  Ssanyu hissed in surprise, a short, quick sound that startled the two men still watching.  He was not blessed by Cernunnos, but he could down an elk barehanded?  Hariel felt small and weak in the face of Irian’s new abilities, even though he knew that in reality he wasn’t far off his prowess-and Irian had those artificial limbs.  Huntsman Himself, he thought, he’s looking more and more like them.  Hariel had seen animals with melds like Irian’s, though no humans.  He didn’t want to see a human with melds like Irian’s if he had anything to say about it.

Irian observed their slack-jawed aping, and shouted at them, “it’s not all that special.  No feeling, and the fun tricks are all voice-operated.  At least I think they are.  I think I’m spotting some features that weren’t in the spec.  I’m sure they’ll be something I just don’t need, or even better they’ll fall apart when I need them.”

“You said tricks?  What tricks can an arm do?”

“Raise your hammer, Thor.”

“All right, but I see no point in attacking you.”

“Too right, but watch this.  Airgeadlamh, shield function!”  A glittering liquid poured out of the arm, solidifying into a buckler on Irian’s metallic arm.  The edge glowed an intense blue.

“Swing at me.”

“More the fool I am…”  Thor swung.  The shield vibrated, then a hairline crack threaded its way across it.  “Ha! A telling blow.  You see, you got soft in that chair, Irian.”  He swung the hammer back to his side.  “Fancy, that arm.  I’ll take my hammer any day.”

“Even when I do this?  Airgeadlamh, retract.”  The shield flowed back from whence it came.  Crack was gone, no visible sign of damage.  “Interesting thing I learned about in the ship’s records.  Apparently they called the stuff ‘nanotechnology.’  Works well enough for me.”

Ssanyu had had enough of the show-and-tell session.  She hefted the elk over her shoulder and made her way out of the clearing in search of more tracks.  She was tired of fish, even if they weren’t.

She hadn’t walked twenty feet, however, when she saw a massive scrape across the landscape.  She whistled for the others to join her, when Irian said, “Leave that be!  I know that mark.  Hunt’s over.  So are we if we don’t vacate the area very, very quickly.”

“Is this what I think this is?”  Hariel shifted his blade from shoulder to shoulder.

Fyrdraca.

“I’m getting out of here.  You can stand about or you can join me.”

Thor seemed nonplussed.  “We wiped them all out, right?”

“Not here we didn’t.  And that’s a big one, from the size of the mark.  Time to go.”

Ssanyu wasn’t impressed.  “Wiped what out?”

“Something I hope you never see close up.  Or if you do, may you be at peace with your gods when you do.”

She hoisted the elk back over her shoulder, and they made a retreat toward the ship.

Deep in the undergrowth, something hungry watched her.  Something large and hungry.

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Published in: on May 12, 2012 at 5:59 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] Chapter Eighty-Five: That’s No Deer (fataloptimization.wordpress.com) Share this:Email Pin ItLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]


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