Walking with the Ticks

Gwyrriun exploring ©2012 w.m.ley

He was thirsty, and had just found a tick on his stomach. Shoveling back revolt he had quickly extracted the squirming blood sucker and was now making his way through the forest to a stream he’d found before. Why was he out here? Self-improvement? Hah…all that was out here was a bunch of annoying insects, scratching brambles, and the odd monster lurking in the shadows. How could he possibly better himself in any way in this god-forsaken wilderness?

At the water’s edge a strange creature slunk through the tall grasses. It was like a walking plant, with thorny whip-like arm things and a mouth like a venus fly-trap. It wouldn’t bother Gwyrriun, he knew; it fed on large insects and frogs and the occasional unwary bird. He stood there a moment, watching twilight fall over the swampy woodland, bringing gray green mists and a pall of eerie darkness.

He decided to venture along the stream towards its source, which was unknown to him. Perhaps since he did not know how to better himself, he would find answers in pressing into the unknown.

A few dozen feet along the stream bank brought him to a path that wound up to a small elven village. As he peered up at this he saw, in the sky not far off, a massive dark red shape. A red dragon, a good sized one, breathing fire onto some unlucky wreckage below. It was possessed of a sickening grace, its great wings flapping easily as it cast its bulk across the sky. The half-elf found a concealed spot at the entrance of the village and hunkered down to watch it. The dragon seemed only concerned with what it was presently attacking, and Gwyrriun did not want to change its mind. At one point in its wheeling it flapped nearly over to him, and he had a spectacular view of its yellow scaled stomach and long cruel talons. Being attacked by the dragon would certainly change his life, but it seemed unlikely to be for the better.

When the beast had flown away for a bit, Gwyrriun decided to take his chance and follow the stream further. It seemed to parralel the dragon’s route, but the half-elf’s impetuosity compelled him again to explore the unknown. After all, he had a blank spot on his map, and who else was brave enough to fill it in?

He came to a point where he could see dragon whelps leaping and gliding to his left, and wild water elementals were gliding along the stream where it had come to be wider and pond-like. He came to cliffs rising up, with the walls of a dwarven settlement visible above him. Of course there would be no way in, but he climbed up a bit and found a more or less safe place among the rocks. He didn’t feel improved, but he was still alive and his map was a bit more drawn now, so he made his rest as best he could with one eye open.

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