Doran returned to the glen just as the Maiden broke through the clouds. The moon’s light bathed the clearing in indigo bringing night glories into full bloom. Even in his desperation, a small part of his mind marveled at the beauty of the clearing which was aglow in fluorescent shades of violet. He hoped he’d been quick enough in finding the hartstongue leaves. If Murai was still alive, they would stop the bleeding.
Doran reached the tree where Murai had lain, but there was no sign of her body. He sank to his knees at the base of the tree and began to weep. He had promised to protect her and now she was gone, prey for one of the creatures of the forest.
Doran clutched the amulet she had pressed into his hands when they had parted. Looking at it closely for the first time, the smooth, black talisman was cut into the shape of a hexagram. The only imperfections were the smears of wet blood that still coated Doran’s hands...Murai’s blood.
A hand grabbed his shoulder and flung him to the ground. Doran felt the steel of a blade leveled against his neck; its point breaking the skin and drawing blood. He didn’t fight, he had nothing left to drive him forward. It might as well be a bandit in the woods that ended him as whatever creature had taken Murai from him.
“Doran?” came the voice from the dark. He felt the blade leave his throat.
A hand appeared before him and a shifting of the light revealed the face of his childhood friend, smiling the crooked grin he’d had since boyhood.
“We thought we’d lost you,” Jordi said, pulling Doran to his feet. He sheathed his sword, a far more traditional blade than the black blade at Doran’s waist. “The others are to the east. I came looking for you.”
A haunting sound drifted through the stillness, melodic...beautiful. The memory of a song on the wind. In the fluorescent light of the glen walked a woman. She seemed to be clad in nothing more than a night shift as she walked across the clearing. The song seemingly came from her, although her lips never moved.
Doran’s eyes locked on her form. She was beautiful beyond measure with long black hair falling to her waist and her sensuous form silhouetted in the indigo light of the Maiden.
Doran felt compelled to go to her. She was more beautiful than Murai could ever have been. But some instinct told him to stay, some animal instinct buried deep within him that spoke of imminent danger.
Jordi evidently felt her call as well; but unlike Doran, he slowly stood and walked into the light of the clearing. Doran tried to stop his friend from revealing himself, but the words wouldn’t form. Jordi stepped through the glen, bathed in the indigo light of the night glories and the Maiden. As he drew near, she slowly turned her head to watch.
Doran couldn’t see much in the gloom, although he could make out a sly smile curling on her lips. Jordi stopped within an arm’s reach of her, enraptured by her beauty. She stepped closer as though to embrace him, resting a hand on his chest that she slowly moved upwards into a caress of his neck.
Doran finally managed to move, his hand sliding to the black blade, bracing himself to stand.
The spell broke.
The woman stood before Jordi, but now Doran saw the creature as the twisted image of beauty it truly was. The curves of a woman were still there. But now he saw the inhuman bend to her legs, the malformed side of her torso, the pitch black eyes, the clawed hand on Jordi’s neck, and the forked tongue as the creature kissed his friend.
Jordi spasmed as she latched onto him, his body racked with seizures as the monster held him tight. For agonizing moments, he shook in her embrace. Finally, Jordi’s body ceased its shakings and his lifeless corpse fell to the forest floor. The creature shuddered in what Doran could only call ecstasy before bounding away into the woods. Doran pressed his back to the tree, breathing hard as he tried to compose himself.
As he turned his eyes away from the clearing, the moonlight betrayed movement behind him. A woman approached. Clearly a woman, as he felt none of the spell from the creature. But as she neared, Doran cried out in horror and grief. Murai stepped into the light of the Maiden. Her eyes were pitch black, without a trace of white.
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Very well written. Keep up the good work!
Original narrative & well developed characters