There’s a lion that has to die. Not an ordinary beast either, but a big diseased bastard that really has it coming. According to Anna, the Goblin-Lion been stalking us in the turnabout quarter from day one, though she’s always led it astray. This time though, it looks like its gotten tired of chewing up gobs from breakfast, lunch and dinner and wants a snack made of real people.
Now I’ve got two beasts under my belt, one literally, so why not one more? Oh, Nessy talks a good game about trying to cure the Lion and make it our friend, but it took him five days just to get that mongrel of his to curl up next to him on cold nights. Nessy would be in the beast’s mouth before he could ask ‘whats wrong with your paw?’
Anna liked the killing idea, difficult as it might be. Gotta like those instincts. Corrin understood too, said something about slaying abhorents or horrendents or whatever. I kinda faded off after he said yes. Oz swung around, as did Dast. Maybe there will be some magic in it or a song for them. Either way, Nessy fell into line and we plotted how best to give the Goblin-Lion a tombstone to play with.
Wouldn’t be easy.
You just don’t lie in wait for a beast that wanders around such a dangerous sprawl of territory. Sooner or later you’ll get pinched by the local gobs or, worse, the beast will surprise you just when you’re thinking to surprise it. If that happened… well, judging from its paw prints, there wouldn’t be enough shreds left of us to fill a thimble.
We rowed back across the lack, being careful not to splash or nothing this time because that attracts the Crawd. Though the crab-things were tasty, we all had our hearts set on bigger game.
Starting off, we had to track it. Sounds easy, what with its tracks being all over the place, but that was just the problem. Whats old, whats new, wheres it going and when is all part of a pattern that Oz and Corrin figured out pretty quick by putting their heads together. Even Anna seemed impressed at what they came up with.
Closer we got though, the harder it was. I kept us out of Goblin hair with a little scout and sneak while Dast spun false echoes to further that end. The ghost can actually be useful when he puts his mind to it. None of this ‘Singing a song of stealth’ crap he likes to throw out.
Crap. That’s what we ended up stumbling into when a sinkhole of the stuff opened up and tossed some of us knee deep in it. Didn’t delay us long though, and we soon came upon a fresh quill.
Yeah, a quill. The lion has quills. What? Think I’d make this up? You take a look at the rose I pulled from my last lion’s tail and tell me they can’t be all porcupine. I mean, why not?
Anyway, we got ahead of it and settled in to ambush. Didn’t have long, the damn thing romps through a forest like a dog through daisies.
Bad news, it smelled us right off and came in charging. Dast answered back with a fierce battle-cry that sang in all my bones and some of my joints. I flicked a rock in on it, smashed damn near its eye but still it sought to savage Corrin. Almost like it hated him for no good reason and liked it that way. All of a sudden it lit up like a summer bonfire when Nessy laid into with Pelor’s frickin’ sunlight. Mainly seemed to piss it off though, and Oz was no help as his thunder-wave rolled off its hide like rain on a toad. I circled round, got in a good dagger lick, but couldn’t find the heart like that book of mine suggested. Thing was just too big and rank and… then it exploded.
Quills. Everywhere. Stabbing my face and hands as I shielded my eyes. A scream of blood poured down, left me blinking and blind as the thing, still alive, bounded off to try and ravage the rest of us.
I heard a grunt as Corrin got back up and barreled after it. More yelling. Another thunderwave. The Goblin-Lion was roaring in rage and all the while Dast’s battle-cry is pumping in my ears. Couldn’t see damn near anything but I went stumbling after it. Heard the steady crack of branches as it and Anna played ‘smack the Ranger’ round a big oak.
Its breath, a reek worse than anything but not hot like it was looking at me. A crunch of soil, those massive paws. Its side was right there in front of me.
My dagger darted forward, I felt the blade slide against its hide, felt it find the notch where muscles met. I pushed with all my might, ignored the quills and drove deep, felt blood gush down my elbow as I gave it the full iron and then some.
The beat of its heart! I could feel it, right through the dagger and I shove, scraped and cut the length of my arm.
It roared, flailed and we both went down. Only I kept breathing afterward.
Lion number three, killed by me!
The others were crowding round by the time I’d pulled my arm back out. Corrin splashed some water on my eyes, enough to clear things up. None of the quills had punctured anything too important, thank Pelor I guess, and I was alright… other than being covered in Lion-gore and that was definitely worth taking a bath for.
We took a while to pull off what part of the hide wasn’t nasty. The mane looks to make an excellent pelt and, as a bonus, there were bits of gold jewelery in its maw and belly. Apparently some wealthy goblin had gotten eaten. Probably as a sacrifice, or so Nessy thought. That didn’t make sense, because why get dressed up to get eaten? I mean, using real gold for that? Gotta be plenty of alternatives.
Anyway, we took our prizes and made our way back to the Shadar-Kai quarter. That meant another boat trip but again, no Crawd. I was still floating from all that happened, a blinded lion-kill and all, that I hardly noted the strange potion salesmen and zombie collectors. The Shadar-Kai are really nasty with things like that. I mean, selling fake ‘cures’ to their own people? That’s low. Also, the dead should be allowed to rest.
Now, my book says that the best way to enter a new market is to approach from a position of strength or use. Trouble is, we have no idea what the Shadar-Kai want here, let alone how strong they are. Things are going to get dicey over the next few days. Lets hope we roll well for pips.