“Those Gobbos that fled screaming when you killed that Human-gobbo, well, I think the tribe knows we are here now,” said Opal as voices and footsteps started to reach them from the surrounding jungle.
“That’s fine, they won’t know what’s happening yet and it’s too soon to have drawn the attention of many. Just need to keep on top of them as they come,” said Rain wiping blood from his nose.
Opal withdrew her rapier and scuttled under a nearby bush as Rain set his feet.
“All yours big guy.”
Rain spread his paws as two Lamia-goblins exploded from the foliage followed by a dozen or so regular Goblins.
The two Lamia didn't hesitate for a moment and dived on Rain using their bodies to engulf him entirely in an attempt to squeeze him to death. If only they had seen what had happened to the last one.
Rain disappeared behind their scales as the Goblins whooped their victory. It wasn’t long before the screaming started. Blood sprayed from between the Lamia’s coils shocking the Goblins out of their celebration.
“Uncoil! Get it out!” cried one Lamia-goblin as the surrounding Goblins started to panic.
“I- I Can’t! Gobbos! Use your weapons, stab between our coils, go damn you!”
The crowd of Goblins seized on the command and swarmed over the entwined Lamia, using their poorly made swords and knives to poke between the slipping moving coils.
It was working! More blood than ever was pouring out from between the coils! They were injuring it! Surely!
A massive paw burst from the coils and wrapped around a Goblin’s head and then dragged him inside screaming. The Goblins faltered. Another Goblin was pulled inside, then another.
“D-Don’t stop! You must save us! Please!” said one of the Lamia as they held the other up, blood pouring from their mouth.
The Goblins began to back away.
“What are you doing?! Stop! Don’t run! Oh- oh gods it’s eating through my spi-.”
The Lamia slumped to the ground as the Goblins stepped back fearfully toward the trees.
A blood covered head burst from the Lamia’s flesh causing the Goblins to freeze in fright. It turned on them, its yellow eyes alight with hunger, tongue running along its teeth.
“B-Beast! Run!!” squeaked one of the Goblins as with a snarl Rain bounded from the Lamia’s corpses and gave chase. They fled into the jungle, the beast hot on their tails.
It leapt and landed on a Goblin crushing it into the ground and instantly snapping its back with its weight, a paw lashed out and snatched up another goblin bashing its brains out on a nearby tree. The chase continued, Goblins dropping like flies as the beast outpaced them due to its longer legs. Soon enough only three desperate Goblins remained, though not for long.
A dark shadow loomed over the slowest of the Goblins but before it could reach out something cried out from above, an ear-splitting avian screech of a sound. The black furred shadow tumbled to the ground as a pair of wings cannoned into it.
A tall naked female Goblin crashed into view, but instead of arms it had wings, and instead of Goblin legs it had the feathered legs of a bird of prey complete with oversized hooked talons made to rend flesh. It scratched and clawed at Rain as he rolled across the ground, keeping his arms up to protect his eyes. The Harpy-goblin avian screeched again and it was joined by a second. They seized on Rain’s shoulders, their talons puncturing his flesh, they then furiously flapped their wings. The Harpy-goblins slowly began to rise into the air, up above the foliage, above the jungle where they were joined by more of their sisters, flapping and cawing.
“We have it sisters! We have the intruder! The prize is ours!”
“What a feral looking beast, what creature would come to be if we were to breed with it I wonder?”
“We should take it to Mother, he can be ours alone and strengthen our blood!”
“All the better. The time we take over the tribe is near! We shall look down on our lessers from above as it is meant to be!”
A large paw wrapped around the leg of one of the carrying Harpy-goblins. She looked down in surprise that the creature could still move with their claws piercing it. Normally their prey was left in agony and unable to struggle.
The paw’s grip tightened and to the Harpy’s shock she felt it drag her down.
“H-hey! You’re not supposed to do that! We’ll fall!”
Yellow eyes looked up at her with contempt and then its jaws opened and bit off her leg. She screamed and watched on in horror as her limb fell into the jungle canopy below.
“Drop it! Drop it! The mad beast is suicidal!”
“I- I can’t let it go! It’s got my leg! Help me sisters!!”
“Me too! Attack it! Rend its body to pieces!”
The two Harpy-goblins flapped desperately at the air trying to keep aloft as the other Harpy-goblins flocked around them, their claws outstretched and slashing at the prey. Rain’s foot lashed out kicking at them and trying to keep them back, but there was only so much he could do being attacked from both sides. Growling in frustration he yanked down one of the harpies holding him up and bit through her neck letting her drop.
The Harpy-goblins cried out in anger and rushed him. His paw lashed out and wrapped around a Harpy-goblins’s neck. Panicked eyes searched for help but nothing could stop his inexorable strength and the Harpy was dragged into his jaws. Claws lacerated his body but his paw reached out again, and then again. Harpy-goblins were dropping one by one. Unfortunately, the one Harpy-goblin Rain was hanging onto wasn’t enough to keep him aloft and they were rapidly sinking into the treetops. A flash of green and the crash of branches and they slammed back into the jungle. Rain had one momentary sight of a second Cavebear-goblin before he and the Harpy collided with it at high speed. The three of them smashed into the ground, the Harpy’s wings audibly snapping as Rain rolled on top of her, crushing her between himself and the Cavebear.
The Cavebear-goblin roared in confusion and lashed out blindly with its massive claws. One swipe took the Harpy-goblin in the head and partially beheaded her. The next swipe came on but Rain held up his paws and caught it, each paw gripping a massive ten-inch yellowed bear claw. He stumbled nearly losing his footing atop the Cavebear as the incredible strength of it slammed into him like a landslide. His feet dug into the Cavebears torso as he resisted, slowed, and then to the Cavebears surprise he managed to push back its paw. Rain took a step forward and twisted the arm of the Cavebear down forcing it into submission.
Unfortunately for Rain the monster had two paws and the other slashed up to eviscerate him. He was forced to release its paw as a set of yellow scythes whipped past his gut. He leapt backwards from its chest and landed back on the ground as it roared in fury, foam flecking from its lips. The Cavebear-goblin charged and Rain dived out of the way easily enough, the clumsy fury of the creature making it easy to predict.
The hissing of a snake tugged at his ear and he tried to turn but a moment too late, coils lashed through the air and encircled his arms and legs from paw to shoulder and foot to hip and wrapped multiple times around his waist. He stared at the coils. More than one, more than two, in fact as he looked over his shoulder he counted no less than seven Lamia-goblins behind him each using their tails to enwrap a different part of his body but far enough away from his head that he couldn't bite them. These Lamia-goblins had been informed of what he could do and had come prepared. He tried to move his arm but the grip of two Lamia heaved back keeping him trapped. He snarled and lent into it, flexing his biceps and pecs. The Lamia began to shift as they were dragged across the ground.
“He- He’s too much to hold! We need more!”
To Rain’s dismay two more coils looped around his arms and dragged him back into the exposed position the Lamia wanted him in.
“Hey, you! Cavebear-gobbo! Get over here and gut this beast! I’m not sure how much longer we can hold him!”
The Cavebear-goblin who had been watching narrowed its eyes and began to step forward.
“Your Mother,” said Rain.
The Cavebear paused.
“Your Mother, the true Cavebear, was ashamed to have half Goblin trash for children. That’s why she broke her chains and left, because she couldn't stand to look at the dogshit that had fallen out of her vagina. She hated you.”
The Cavebear’s eyes widened as though she couldn't believe what she was hearing. Then, her whole body trembling, she spread her arms and roared in blood spitting fury. Her eyes locked onto Rain and she charged.
“H-hey, Cavebear, this bastard is lying! W-wait, No! NO! STOP! STOOOOP!” screamed the Lamia as the Cavebear-goblin freighted into them at full sprint.
Rain, tangle of Lamia, and furious Cavebear crashed into each other and the hissing, howling, roaring ball smashed aside trees as it rolled through the jungle.
Blood spilled in the tangles trail as a pair of unstoppable jaws flashed through the tumult, ripping and tearing and raising shrill screams as buckets of flesh were incised and separated. Giant bear claws ripped and tore, blind to friend or foe only trying desperately to get at the slippery black shadow that squirmed between coils and Cavebear. The shadow tore from the Cavebear then dived back into the coils as the bear tried to strike it, only hitting Lamia instead. Blood and gore covered everything as the Lamia started to disintegrate under the onslaught, their bodies mauled apart by the scything claws of the bear and the tearing of the wolf.
The tangle of death slowed and the bear lost track of the wolf. Multiple holes punched in its stomach poured blood, but the mindless fury of the Cavebear kept it frantically pulling apart coils and corpses. It wasn't until it felt the weight on the back of its neck did it realise its mistake. Too late. Immense pressure, pain, then the splintering crunch of a spine, no more pain. The Cavebear-goblin flopped on top of the horrific pile of shredded Lamia.
Rain rested on all fours atop the Cavebear for a moment, breathing hard, his head bowed.
“Cutting it a bit close maybe,” said a voice.
He looked up to see Opal pushing aside some foliage. Blood spattered her clothes and both her cutlass and rapier were red up to the hilt.
“Yeah, well, they figured out engulfing me in coils was a bad idea. I couldn't bite my way out, so I had to change the situation.”
“By having a half-Cavebear land on you?”
“It worked didn't it?” he said, as he wiped gore from his face.
Rain turned back to the Goblin as an actual full blooded Harpy, not a half breed, crashed through the canopy and snatched Opal up in her talons. The Harpy cackled and began to lift her into the air.
Rain scrambled down the side of the bear and stumbled to his feet shedding gore and blood with every motion.
“Opal!” roared Rain as the Harpy made it past the canopy and began to glide over the jungle.
Rain ran underneath her following in her flight path.
“Daughters of mine! I have the traitor that’s spoken of! Come see!”
Rain snatched up a stone about the size of a large fist from the ground as he ran. He leant backwards stretching his arm behind him, tilting his waist, then with a savage growl he torqued, twisting his hips and using all the momentum of his run he swung his arm so hard he thought it might snap. His paw whipped around and with a crack the rock left his paw and shot up through the canopy with an explosion of leaves. The rock took the Harpy in the back of the head sending a sprinkle of blood into the air. The Harpy squawked and crashed back down through the canopy ahead of Rain. She hit the ground hard in a spray of dirt, her wing breaking beneath her as she landed atop it.
The cries of many alarmed Harpy-goblins rang through the air as he raced up to the crashed true Harpy. She was still alive, just moving groggily. Blood marked her pale naked skin and dripped from her long black hair, her red eyes were unfocused. Opal was lying near her, by some fluke having landed atop her then rolled away.
Rain pulled the stunned Goblin into his arms and checked her over. Amazingly she was unharmed. The cries of anger above the canopy were nearing so he quickly thrust her out of sight beneath the nearest bush.
The true Harpy blinked and seemed to gather herself. She tried to move her broken wing and hissed in pain, then she painfully climbed to her feet. She touched the corner of her unharmed wing to the back of her head and it came away bloody. She eyed the red smear.
“You attacked a Queen. That was a mistake. By Harpy law I will see a hole cut in your navel and your intestine hooked free, then I will watch as my daughters nail the end to a tree then chase you around it using a flaming branch until your bowels wrap round it like thread around a bobbin. You will then live like that until you begin to starve and become weak upon which time we shall force feed you our guano until your stomach bursts.”
Rain wrinkled his nose and made a face of disgust. “I think I understand why levelers hate Harpies so much, you actually are the worst of what levelers say about monsters.”
The Queen Harpy hissed and stepped forward. At ground level, and standing, she was at a height with Rain, much larger than any of the half harpies, with massive brown and cream wings.
She strode forward then sprinted then leapt into the air feet first, her body parallel to the ground, her massive twelve-inch razor talons aimed at Rain’s face.
Rain lunged forward and his paws slammed into the clawed feet of the Harpy arresting her momentum, the Queen shrieked her fury and beat her one massive wing blowing dust into the air, rippling the grass and shaking the trees. They wrestled, Rain’s paws struggling to hold back the powerful kicks of the avian as her one good wing beat the air keeping her aloft. As they fought and grappled, Rain began to be pushed back from the sheer wild strength of the Queen and around them Harpy-goblins descended through the canopy.
“This cavern will be mine and every Goblin and Half-goblin will be my property! My army! You will not stop this, you cannot stop this, you cannot stop me!” roared the Queen as her talons raked at Rain’s forearms.
“No,” came a voice, “But I can.”
The Inquisitor's longsword pierced through the back of the Queen and burst up from her stomach on the other side, bright steel coated red, a strange growth. The Queen screamed and fell to the ground as Opal scrambled back between Rain’s legs and under the bush.
Rain stood over the Queen as she lay curled on the ground, one wing clutching at the sword through her gut.
“My children will avenge me beast, they are loyal.”
He grabbed the Queen by the throat and lifted her into the air as a dozen half Harpies surrounded them, crying out their anger.
“If you don't back off I will end her right now,” growled Rain.
“What have you done to Mother!”
“Mother we can still save you, do not worry!”
“What do you want beast?”
Rain looked over the dozen half-harpies eyeing him warily.
He held up a paw and spread his digits. “For the bargain price of five of you to die beneath my teeth I will let her go.”
The Queen’s eyes rounded. “N-” Rain tightened his grip, cutting off her words.
“No! Fuck you wolf! Never! We will never sacrifice our own, we lo-”
The one who had spoken up paused as a Harpy-goblin wing came down on her shoulder, then on her other shoulder.
“Sorry sister but you just aren't worth much to us, you’ve always been weak winged. We need Mother more than we need you, she’s the only one who can keep our Harpy blood from becoming diluted.”
The two Harpy-goblins either side of her hauled her forward, her heels digging into the ground uselessly.
“Die for Mother.”
They held her still as Rain ripped out her throat, her eyes shifting from wide eyed fear to the relaxed visage of death.
The brown haired one on the right shivered, her eyes transfixed by Rain’s bloody teeth.
The one on the left spoke up. “Beast, we gave you one of our own, surely this is enough, Harpy-gobbos aren’t Gobbos, we’re worth so much more, even this one. Return our Mother, be reas-”
The brown haired one suddenly lunged forward, but not at Rain, instead she wrapped her wings around the one on the left and flung her into Rain’s waiting jaws, instinctively he ended her life with a snap.
The rest of the Harpy-goblins stared at the one who had suddenly sacrificed her sister. She breathed in and out shakily.
“I’m- I’m not going to be one of the five to die! I want- I need to live!”
Bedlam broke out. Sister attacked sister and the air was filled with screams and talons rending and incising flesh, flashes of blood sprayed through the air to spatter down on the green leaves of the jungle. Feathers torn from wings littered the ground and small downy feathers floated through the brawl.
At last a trio of Harpy-goblins were forced down on the ground, their sisters pinning them. Rain was fairly sure one was already dead and judging by the amount of blood on the ground the other two wouldn't last much longer.
A bedraggled sister with flecks of red covering her face and hair lank with blood turned to Rain.
“You got your bargain and then some beast,” she said between heaving breaths, “Blood payment has been rendered under Harpy law. Give her to us and we’ll let you leave.”
Rain pushed the Queen in front of him and released her neck.
“Daughters, did you not see his eyes?” said the Queen sadly. “It was never going to end this way.”
Rain grabbed the hilt of the sword sticking out her lower back and heaved the Queen forward, the blade protruding from her belly pierced the half-harpy in front skewering her. The Queen embraced her daughter as she screamed.
The remaining six Harpy-goblins roared their fury and threw themselves on Rain, anguish disfiguring their faces. Rain backed away, his arms raised to protect his face. When an opportunity arose he grabbed at their talons and hauled one toward his mouth where he swiftly ended her, one, two, three, their strength was nothing compared to the Queen and their talons could not cut far into his body.
The barrage of talons continued, lacerating his arms and causing the wolf to retreat through the jungle. He tripped over a root and rolled backwards, bursting unexpectedly from a treeline into a large grassy clearing. The last two harpies followed him howling their mindless rage and he grabbed them both from the air hauling them down to the ground. Their strength faltered below his own and he held them in place while one by one tearing out their throats.