The Oasis of Broken Bones
Part Seven – Facing the Beast
The crocodilian beast growled a thunderous note as it watched Peregrine sweep her spear in a glittering arc before it. Those eyes reflected a bestial fury, yet more besides, for to Peregrine it seemed as if an alien will rode deeper within, an intellect not of the beast itself, a malevolence that drove the beasts to further heights of savagery.
Ponderings on such thoughts had to wait, for to dwell on it would only hinder her and so she thrust them aside, focusing solely on the battle before her. Her spear thrust and probed, seeking out an opening in the beast’s defences, each one only to be met by a snap of the jaws. Should they close upon the spear, they would cleave in in twain and devoid her of the only advantage she held in the fight, that of reach over the beast.
Laughter echoed across the waters, silver sheened by the moon. A fey mood descended upon Peregrine as the heat of battle overcame her. She knew now that she had taken on a foe that might prove beyond her, for it was both hardy and fast, cruel and cunning, yet her Aedring blood would not allow her to back down from the battle, to flee, but only to stay until the end came, straining flesh and sinew to the uttermost.
The crocodilian beast rumbled a deep sound as it stalked forward, tail sweeping behind it as it emerged fully from the waters, seeking to press passed the spear to get at Peregrine. With cautious step she picked her way backwards from it, not once turning her face away. The broken bones that were strewn across the ground were a hazardous obstacle, one that threatened to shift beneath her feet should she step on them. A simple misstep would result in a slip and then the beast would be upon her with its ravaging jaws and fangs to rend flesh from bone.
Back across the beach she picked her way, ever facing the beast, for to turn her back upon it for but a moment would have spelt her doom. Her spear flashed as she kept testing it, seeking to keep it at bay. The first of the trees sprung up around her and these she used for cover. The beast, barely stopping, smashed into one tree, its massive size shouldering it aside. Groaning, the tree toppled to the ground. Barely impeded, the beast pressed on.
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