Hecatolite sat eating a bunny while she waited for Taaffeite to come help her, Babylon delivering her mother's message to “stay where you are, your father and I are on our way”.
She contemplated taking off her suppression bands to make herself easier to find but decided against it, instead wondering who would make it to her first. She knew that the guards that had been assigned to her were in the forest not far away, and the All-Faiths guild had also sent a group of priests to watch over Amethyst.
In truth she was rather annoyed that no one in the town seemed to understand the importance of training, that or they did not believe the two girls were capable of completing such a simple task in the forest… I mean sure I broke our leg… and arm… and got stuck… but that’s not important! We are supposed to be training to go to Ecrein to find a gnome! How can we train if half the city comes out with us every time we leave!
She pouted as she bit into the hind leg of the rabbit, it seemed no matter how much she ate there would always be room for more even when she wasn’t hungry, she always seemed to have room for food. It helped that eating made the throbbing in her leg and arm dull slightly, not that they hurt with her skill but they still felt… strange.. She could still feel her broken leg, her heartbeat causing it to throb as the swelling inside of her armored boot made it uncomfortable to wear. She had tried to remove her greaves but found the task difficulty with one functioning arm.
“This is boring.” She fell back onto the ground, a femur hanging from her mouth as she whined. She looked up through the trees at the night sky, the red moon shining down through the hole in the canopy illuminating the area in a dull glow. Her eyes landed on the hole in the moon, she sighed as her stomach sank. “Maybe… maybe I am the problem.” She thought out loud as she looked into the night sky.
Her existence has been nothing but an issue since she arrived in this world. First, she almost killed Amethyst as a baby, then she stunted her sister’s growth by living in her body. She is the reason the bishop attacked Amethyst that day, and the one who keeps causing people to panic because she can’t control her power. Not to mention the massive hole in the moon, the problems with the church of Valor, and the summoned heroes… the gods… everywhere she went she made problems for her family… and now here she lay in the middle of the forest unable to get back to town on her own because what? She got a new skill and couldn’t wait till she was safely at home to test it.
She closed her eyes thinking back to her time in the void, the solitary quiet of the endless darkness, just her disjointed thoughts as she contemplated existence…. Alone.
She let her mind drift, letting all the noise of the world fall away as the ever-present sound in her mind grew. Before everything seemed to become still as memories surfaced.
She had grown used to the strange memories that would come and go sometimes, much like the voices in her mind she had become accustomed to just ignoring them, but these ones were different. They were old, so old they only came in fragments as they played in her mind.
Am I crying… am I a baby?
I am older now, bigger… not as big as the others but still bigger… wait somethings wrong… why are none of the big ones coming to me? The other little ones have changed, the big ones brought them food and they changed after eating, becoming like the big ones…
A big one came to me! She brought me food! So much food, I ate happily… but I did not change like the others… the big one looks… angry? Why is she angry? Was I not supposed to eat the food?
The big ones all avoid me... am… am I different? We look the same, we have tails and fur the same as each other. Why do they avoid me while they play with the other little ones?
I tried to approach a big one today, it was the one that would bring me food when I was young… my mother. She wouldn’t look at me, she pushed me away… why? We are the same, but yet…
I no longer interact with the others. I stand out too much to hunt like they do, so I struggle to find food. Sometimes if I wait, I can eat what they leave behind. Why… why do they hate me? We are the same, I am just like them!
My mother died today. I went to try and see her one last time but one of the other big ones stopped me. They pushed me until I was outside of the tribe’s area… were… were they kicking me out? Why? Why must I leave? This is my home too!
I am so hungry… without the big one’s scraps… without the tribe… I am so hungry.
I found a big one! She was alone; I think she was left after she got hurt during a hunt! It was hard but I managed to pull her to the cave I have been hiding in. If I help her, maybe they will let me back in the tribe!
The big one has been sleeping for a long time, I tend her wounds with the plants I found. They make the pain stop… she is still alive I am sure… she is warm… and soft… she smells so good… I need to get more plants.
The big one attacked me! She woke up while I was smashing the plants, and just attacked me before running off into the forest… why… I was helping her…. are… are we not the same?
They came in the night and burned my cave. Luckily, I was able to escape before they arrived, thankfully after the big one left, I set noise makers outside my cave in case she came back. I am so hungry, but I need to run… maybe I can find another tribe…
They found me again, why do they hunt me? I was simply helping them. I need to run again, but this time… this time I’ll set traps.
One of my traps caught something! It’s the big one! The female… she can’t get out of the vines I set up, serves her right… she… she looks so sad… and her leg got injured… maybe… maybe I can help her. Maybe I can make her see that we are the same.
The big one tried to attack me the moment I came close. Her tail managed to hit me… it hurts so bad where she hit me but… but I got her back. I survived when her tail hit me, she died when my stick pierced her throat… it hurts… but… I killed her then… then I am stronger. If I am stronger, then…
We are not the same. the big ones are strong but slow, where I am small and fast. they change colors and their bodies change, some of them grow shells like the hard lizards in the forest, some grow long claws like the flyers. But I am always the same, my fur is always white like the cold snow, my body does not change like theirs no matter how much I eat. But I am no longer upset about not being the same, because I am strong now. Now that I know we are not the same I no longer worry about hurting the big ones when they come to hunt me, because we are not the same…
I eat the big ones now when they come to me. They keep coming, every time I hunt one, more come… I have gotten good at trapping them though I no longer need to. Since I started eating them, for the first time my body changed, I became even faster, my tail became longer and stronger, my teeth sharper, I became the thing they feared me to be. The monster they treated me like, I should thank the big ones because they were the ones who showed me that we were not the same. they are weak where I am strong.
Hecatolite let the disjointed memory continue, hunting the “big ones” as the joy of eating them filled her with a warmth that washed over her like a warm bath…. A tingly… sticky wet…. Kind of smelly….
Wait a second. Hecatolite let the memories slip from her mind, the clambering of voices quickly pushing the last dregs of the memories out as she opened her eyes… Why is it so dark? And smelly? She attempted to move her body only to find herself stuck; her arms were pressed to her sides as she felt the slick walls of her confinement wiggle, the soft almost fleshy walls pressing against her as she tried to figure out what was happening.
She could feel her whole-body tense as her heart slammed inside of her chest, am… am I stuck… how… she started to shake as the thrumming sound of her own heart filled her ears causing her to miss the robotic voice of Babylon as it tried to inform her of the situation.
She could have tried summoning IRIS and fired a few shots into the darkness, even trying to get to the bag on her waist and pull out a torch ball…. Hecatolite did not do any of that. What she did do, however, was panic. Violently.
Once she confirmed she was indeed stuck she began to violently thrash about, summoning her claws into her good hand and tearing at the soft walls around her even going as far as to bite anything in the darkness that got close enough to her face to bite.
She could feel the walls begin to move as the whole world seemed to violently shake, dull thumping sounds reverberated through the sticky walls around her. she clawed and chewed for what felt like an eternity in the darkness…. What… what if I never get out…. She froze as an ice-cold chill ran up her spine. Her outstretched arm locking in place unwilling to move as her entire mind shook.
Just as her consciousness began to fade something grabbed onto her arm.
Hecatolite was violently ripped forwards, emerging from the enormous lizard’s stomach to find herself face to face with her father, his large hand engulfing her forearm as purple blood sizzled on his skin.
“Dad?” she asked weakly as she looked around to see herself surrounded by a crowd of tired looking people.
There was her father who was holding her arm and grinning as he held her up much like a prized fish, her mother standing beside him shaking her head as she put her sword away… the guards…. The priest… oh her new adventuring friends too… wait did they all come when Inutil told them about my leg…. Why do they all look so worn out? She looked down to see that her father was standing atop a lizard that was roughly the size of a 18 wheeler, its head lopped off in what looked to be one clean cut that had burn marks around the edges.... “wow. It would have taken forever to claw my way out of that.” She said realizing her claws, though damaging, were in fact… tiny.
She looked to her parents who, unlike the rest, looked perfectly fine, they didn’t seem worn out at all… in fact, if it wasn’t for the burn marks on Alastair’s arm where he pulled her from the apparently highly poisonous creature, they looked as if they had simply been working like normal.
“Did you cut its head off?” She asked looking back at her father who beamed at her.
“Well of course! It ate my precious daughter!” He exclaimed, lifting her into the air, to all the world it looked as if he was playing with his daughter, but Taaffeite noticed her husband’s care as he looked her over before cradling her in his arms. Thankfully, the purple gore didn’t cling to Hecatolite’s clothes as globs of the acidic blood fell from her once log hair that was now frayed hair..
Taaffeite let out a long sigh as she pulled a vial of antivenom from her ring and handed it to him. happy that she ignored her husband’s insistence that she was being too cautious when she prepared their provisions for the day. She handed a second vial to Hecatolite who she was sure wouldn’t need it but had her drank it anyway.
“I am sorry it took us so long to get here, thankfully they were able to keep it from getting to its burrow before we arrived.” Alastair looked back to the group of exhausted people around the massive monster.
“pff” she patted him on the shoulder, “I had that completely under control… but I was tired from hunting all day so thanks for taking care of it for me.” The two of them laughed as a priest began healing them.
Taaffeite’s heart sank as she watched the two laugh, their empty smiles mirroring each other’s worry as they held onto one another. she could hear the people around them muttering about the two as they were being healed. Unlike them, she could see the truth in the laughter. Alastair was terrified of losing their daughter, but Hecatolite… her laugh was so weak it was barely more than a whimper…
She walked over and gently took her daughter from Alastair, the large man backing down the moment she came up. Hecatolite continued to laugh as she clung to Taaffeite, the young woman’s body instantly relaxing as she held onto her.
Hecatolite cried into her mother’s shoulder, she couldn’t remember why but the moment she was in Taaffeites arms all her fear seemed to sink away but except for one… “mom… don’t leave me.”
“I would never leave you Hecatolite.” Taaffeite said while patting her daughter's head, ignoring the purple gore that was caked into her hair. She, just like her husband, ignored the stinging burns on her hand as she consoled Hecatolite, waiting until the girl released her before drinking a potion of her own to counter the poisonous blood. “Let's head home, you can tell us all about how you ended up in a basilisk on the way.”